When I first heard that Hannah Montanna tickets would be going on sale, I could not wait to get some for my daughter. At 6 years old she is a devoted Hannah Montanna fan having purchased all of her records and religiously watching her show. What I found while trying to get tickets is that the recent removal of Minnesota’s ticket scalping laws has changed how we will have to purchase concert tickets in the future.
When I first heard on Tuesday, September 4th that tickets would go on sale on the follow Saturday I began planning my Saturday around purchasing tickets. After visiting Ticketmaster’s web site to determine what time they would go on sale on Saturday I was surprised to learn that tickets were actually on sale beginning Tuesday, September 4th to members of Hannah’s fan club. IT WAS TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4TH!
Tuesday – September 4th:
I immediately visited the Hannah Montanna website and signed up for a membership in my daughter’s name. I was then given the passcode that would allow me to purchase tickets on the Ticketmaster website. I quickly returned to the Ticketmaster website but was told that there were no tickets available! I figured that I had arrived too late and that only a small number of tickets were reserved for fan club members. The Ticketmaster website mentioned that on Wednesday that they would be selling fan club memberships for tickets as well. So I thought I would return on Wednesday and try again.
Wednesday – September 5th – 10am:
Ticketmaster begins selling Hannah Montanna Fan Club memberships – but I am still not able to find any available tickets.
I check Ebay and the ticket broker – TicketKing – and both have tickets listed for sale. I was surprised to see that there were hundreds of tickets available for sale. In all locations: 100 level, 200 level, and main floor. There were tickets from all over the arena for sale. Tickets were going for as high as $1,000.00
Saturday – September 8th – Noon:
I quickly sign on to the Ticketmaster website. I try to place an order for 4 tickets – no luck. I try to place an order for 2 tickets – no luck. I was able to find a few single seats – but not more than a single ticket. At this time Ticketmaster also begins “Auctions” for tickets and they show tickets from the main floor that have not been sold but are being auctioned off instead. A friend of mine who actually went to a Ticketmaster outlet said that only a few number of tickets were actually available in-person.
The media did not pick up on the story until Saturday and Sunday. They portrayed it as the concert sold out in minutes and that within minutes the tickets were available on Ebay and other ticket broker websites on Saturday afternoon.
The Greg Thunder morning show on KS95 was discussing this one morning – how fast the concert sold out and how quickly the tickets were avilable on Ebay. I called in to the show and was put on the air. I explained my experiences from Tuesday and Wednesday and how I believed that the concert was sold out on Tuesday and how the tickets were available on Ebay and the broker sites on Tuesday and Wednesday. But like the rest of the media – immediately after I was off the air they were back to discussing how quickly it sold out on Saturday and how quickly they were on Ebay – on Saturday.
Friday – October 12th – 4pm:
A local radio station announces that Target Center is handing out wristbands for a batch of tickets that has been “released”. These wrist bands will allow you to come back on Saturday morning and you may get more tickets. From what I understand some of the people get tickets – but most do not.
Saturday – October 20th – 4pm:
We receive a call from a good friend of ours letting us know that they have released yet another set of tickets. We quickly call Ticketmaster and are told there are no tickets available. After calling Target Center we are told that they may not know that these seats are available. These are obstructed view seats. I log on to the Ticketmaster website and I am able to place an order. I order 4 seats on the side of the stage in the upper level. It will be interesting to see how good the seats are – but at least she gets in the building.
On top of all of this – I still have yet to receive the Hannah Montanna Fan Club materials that were promised my daughter. It has been over 6 weeks (web site promised shipping in 4-6 weeks) and we have yet to receive any materials.
Here is what I think is the future of concert ticket sales:
- Now that Minnesota has removed the ticket scalping laws – brokers and opportunistic individuals will purchase tickets in hopes of making money will compete against the fans for ticket sales. I believe that the majority of concert tickets will change hands at least once after they are purchased.
- Fan Club pre-sale will be abused by the ticket brokers if you allow ticket brokers to purchase memberships on-the-fly. Take the lead from U2 – they require that you are a Fan Club member far before the tickets go on sale – no on-the-fly fan club memberships just to get pre-sales tickets.
- The elimination of the scalping laws has also opened the door to allow Ticketmaster to hold back tickets and auction them off at a premium.
- When people are not eating up the auction tickets, Ticketmaster will release additional tickets to the public. Creating confusion around when a concert is really sold out and when the additional tickets will go on sale.
Why can’t we just go back to the day when Ticketmaster sold all of the tickets available at a set time. If an artist wants to have a presale for fan clubs – make sure they are members of the fan club prior to the ticket release date. Give everyone the same chance.
By the way – I do not blame Hannah Montanna/Miley Cyrus personally for this. Promoters/Ticketmaster have created the current environment that exists.