Tickets for your favorite artist go on sale at 10AM, so you either go to the box office, or wait near your computer for the hour to hit so you can score the best ticket possible. And what do you find? All the best tickets were already purchased, leaving you with dreck, which means you’re off to the secondary ticket market (Stub Hub, Barry’s Tickets, etc.) to get the ticket you really want, knowing full well that you’ll pay more. What happened was that the secondary sellers used their online bots to scoop up those prime tickets before you even had a chance. But that may be changing now with a new concept called “slow ticketing,” giving the fan a real chance to get exactly the ticket they want right up until show time.
Slow ticketing is a shift towards sales at a human speed to keep the bots at bay. For the current Taylor Swift tour, Ticketmaster is requiring consumers to register in advance through its Verified Fan program, then pricing tickets at a rate that market is willing to pay. This has meant that only 3% of the Swift tickets were sold by secondary ticket sellers, instead of 30% as in previous tours.
The idea is to keep the ticket prices low, but price them to market demand as needed. While this sounds like what secondary sellers do, the fact of the matter is that a secondary seller like StubHub marks up tickets by at least 30%, much more than the slow ticketing algorithm. As a result, Swift is estimated to make an extra $1 to 1.5 million per show, while the fans get access to better tickets at cheaper prices. That being said, many of the premium VIP tickets in front of the stage are priced much higher that her last tour, drawing the ire of fans.
Slow ticketing looks like it could be the future of concert tickets, giving the average fan a real chance to buy choice tickets at a reasonable price. Just like the old days – imagine that.