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Battle of the Bots: The Ongoing Fight for Concert Tickets

Posted on 3 m read

Written by Madeline Cronin

We’ve all been there: you get online an hour before the tickets go on sale and you wait anxiously until the on sale time arrives. The page loads and you pick tickets and the dreaded “unavailable” notice pops up. You try again and still, the same thing. Now you have to go to an annoying secondhand ticket website and buy tickets for 2x the normal price. The above situation is unfortunately becoming more and more common because of the use of ticket bots.

The way these bots work is pretty simple. The bot software will go in when the tickets go on sale and buy 1,000 tickets at once. The bot will usually buy up all the good tickets and leave the bad ones for everyone who is fairly trying to buy tickets. Then these tickets will get sold on various secondary websites for a ridiculous amount of money. Not only does this ruin it for actual fans but it’s also illegal under The BOTS act signed into law last year by President Obama.

Ticket bots may also have something to do with the way tickets are sold as well. According to the general manager of StubHub Canada, only 15% to 20% of tickets for a show actually go on sale to the public. The rest are for industry execs or for credit card holders. Since only a small quantity of tickets are actually sold, the bots buy up as many as they can and that leaves very little for fans.

Artists are well aware of this problem and some of them have begun to take steps to fight back against the bots. For Adele’s recent tour she made sure that the fans that bought the top 3000 tickets showed their credit cards before they could get into the show. Other bands like Radiohead, Metallica and Miley Cyrus use a paperless ticketing system and ID’s a required to be shown to get into their shows. Even with all these counter measures that artists are taking, it’s not working in the way that it was intended to.

The whole issue is bigger than just the ticket bots. It’s really an issue of getting rid of the secondary ticketing market as a whole. If there’s no secondary market then there’s no where for the ticket scalpers to sell their illegally purchased tickets. As for websites like Craigslist and other marketplace type websites, selling on those would still be allowed however, it would be regulated. Other than that you could only buy tickets on Ticketmaster and verified ticket vendors. Releasing more than 20% of tickets at a time to be sold would also be nice.

As fans who have gone through this pain of not being able to get tickets, we feel the pain. Hopefully, this issue will be addressed sooner rather than later. Whether the problem is solved by the government or by Live Nation, our wallets will be happy and so will we.

Have you missed out on seeing your favourite artists because of bots?

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