Published: Thu, September 20, 2018
Culture&Arts | By Dora Pope

Undercover Investigation Reveals Ticketmaster Hires Professional Scalpers to Drive Ticket Prices

Undercover Investigation Reveals Ticketmaster Hires Professional Scalpers to Drive Ticket Prices

Ticketmaster is secretly running its own scalping scheme, allowing it to profit from both the original and secondary sales of tickets, according to an investigative report.

A pair of reporters posing as scalpers was sent from the outlets to Ticket Summit 2018, a ticketing and live entertainment convention at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. A CBC journalist also obtained access to an online video conference demonstration of the TradeDesk platform back in March.

A new exposé published by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has revealed what music fans have suspected for some time: that ticketing behemoth Ticketmaster not only "turns a blind eye" to scalpers but the company maintains partnerships with professional brokers via TradeDesk, "a web-based inventory management system" that "allows scalpers to upload large quantities of tickets purchased from Ticketmaster's site and quickly list them again for resale".

In an undercover investigation, two CBC reporters uncovered that Ticketmaster has been hiring scalpers to artificially drive up the prices of tickets. The handbook outlines a reward system for scalpers. They get a 3 percent discount on the 7 percent Ticketmaster selling fee, with additional percentage points taken off when they get to $500,000 and $1 million in sales respectively.

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Swaraj's schedule was yet to be finalised even though she was expected to participate in the SAARC ministerial meeting. He claimed that the issues between the two countries are complicated and in order to resolve them, "we must engage".

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This investigation was sparked by Ticketmaster's previous attempts to sue groups that used bots to hoard live event tickets with intent to resell, which had brought Ticketmaster under fire for allegedly supplying scalpers with bot software themselves.

"We clearly delineate between standard tickets sold by the venue and tickets sold by third parties, with clear disclosure that resale prices may exceed (or be lower than) face value", the company told the news outlets in a statement. We do not own the tickets sold on our platform nor do we have any control over ticket pricing - either in the initial sale or the resale.

Over the past decade, Live Nation has markedly changed course in its position on ticket resales. If then uploaded to TradeDesk for resale at $400, Ticketmaster would receive a further $76. Those inflated resale tickets are a benefit to Ticketmaster as they provide them with more revenue via extra fees. For Ticketmaster, this market is "particularly lucrative", CBC reported.

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