Bad blood! Is Taylor Swift’s ‘verified fan’ system a way to reward followers – or rip them off? | The Guardian

What tends to get brushed over is the complicity of artists in the process. Fans buying tickets want to believe the artist is on their side, and so there is an acceptance in the industry – a conspiracy might be another word – that when it all goes pear-shaped and fans realise they are being milked dry, the artist does not carry the can. Last year, one major promoter told me they knew of only one stadium-filling act they were certain did not play the resale market, either themselves or by granting promoters permission to resell at inflated prices. We know this happens, but we prefer to blame promoters, ticket agencies, managers – anyone but the artist.

The real issue here – and you probably don’t want to hear this – is that the most popular artists do not charge enough for their tickets. The resale sites have proved that the market will support much higher pricing, but the artists don’t want to be the ones who look like greedy moneygrabbers by asking for those prices. So other people do the dirty work, and the artist still gets the guaranteed fee they asked for – from the sponsors who presold tickets, from revenues from resale sites, or – in Swift’s case – from the purchases her fans made to get in the ticket queue. If artists hiked the price of tickets, people would moan at them, but far fewer tickets would go to touts, because the margins would discourage them.

Ticketing will change. “I expect in the future to see further growth of the tiered pricing systems we have in place in many sports, or other retail,” Sandom says, although it should be noted that where unofficial “dynamic pricing” – slashing the price to shift unsold seats – has occurred, fans who coughed up full price at the earliest opportunity have tended to complain. There is also the problem that venues, ticket sale sites and ticket resale sites are caught in a web of their own commercial relationships, which means dynamic pricing would be harder to operate, because ticket sales are controlled by those who have an interest in maintaining the current system.

Read complete article here:

Bad blood! Is Taylor Swift’s ‘verified fan’ system a way to reward followers – or rip them off? | Music | The Guardian.