LCD Soundsystem Takes Action Against Ticket Scalpers
When LCD Soundsystem announced that they would be playing their last show at New York’s Madison Square Garden on April 2, fans around the world were disappointed. But fans' disappointment quickly turned to anger when they learned the show sold out within one minute of the tickets going on sale on February 11. When tickets originally priced at $50 began to show up on ticket resale websites for up to $1,000, LCD Soundsystem released this scathing criticism aimed at scalpers.
Although the blog entry is angry and filled with expletives, frontman James Murphy brings up some valid points about this unprecedented scenario: “no—we didn’t have a smart paperless ticketing system in place, and no—we didn’t have the pre-sale worked out very well, but this is simply because we’ve never sold anything out so quickly in our lives, and certainly never sold out anything as big as [Madison Square Garden].”
LCD Soundsystem Deals with Scalping
With the show sold out instantly, both fans and friends of the band were unable get tickets to the "final performance" unless they were willing to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars on the secondary market. Days later, the band responded by announcing they were adding four more New York shows, exciting fans everywhere. While creating new shows doesn’t guarantee that scalpers won’t take advantage of these tickets as well, James' goal is to "deflate the market for those scalping scum(bleep)." What a novel idea!
By putting on additional shows, LCD Soundsystem hopes to dampen the profits the secondary market makes. They insist they don't even care if the new shows sell out; They just want to give their fans a chance to see them for fair and reasonable prices. In addition, purchases are limited to two tickets per person, and finally, they are employing a type of paperless ticketing rather than hard or print-at-home tickets.
New York Laws on Paperless Ticketing
As we'd written before, the idea of paperless-only ticketing isn’t new. In 2009, Miley Cyrus’s tour was one of the first major tours to use paperless ticketing to thwart scalpers, along with industry veterans, AC/DC and Metallica. Cyrus’s scalpers complained, and some said the attempt was aimed at making sure no one would profit more than Cyrus, but Cyrus’s manager said it was about making the experience available to fans, who often can’t afford tickets re-sold for hundreds of dollars.
LCD Soundsystem's is offering paperless ticketing despite laws in New York, a state where the debate about legal scalping raged this past summer, that now prohibit paperless ticketing. The state legislature adopted the ruling in an effort to help consumers transfer tickets as gifts or when unable to attend a performance. Sadly, the ruling doesn't help fans of the hottest selling acts who are left to the mercy of the secondary market. In New York, regulations regarding ticket scalping could create a domino effect considering the state’s influence in the entertainment industry. Thom Yorke, frontman for Radiohead (who just came out with their new album “King of Limbs” this week) has even written to New York state legislators to encourage support for paperless ticketing.
Cause and Effect
But revenge just might be sweet for fans. The new shows that went on sale yesterday are still available for sale at their original prices. It remains to be seen how prices will be impacted for the original Madison Square Garden show, but for now, the secondary market is holding tight to high prices. Stub Hub offered tickets for up 300 times the original ticket price or $15,000.
LCD Soundsystem didn't expect their concert to sell out, and especially not so quickly. As Murphy wrote in his blog post, “There was, I repeat, no expectation of our selling this out … my main concerns at the time were things like Ticketmaster charges—how they were going to make the tickets ridiculously costly… we never dreamed some [people] would try to get thousands for our show. It’s insane. But it happened.”
Murphy’s final word to scalpers? “It’s legal’ is what people say when they don’t have ethics....we are supposed to have ethics, and that should be the primary guiding force in our actions.” Well said.