I’m writing to you as a longtime fan. I’ve been to about 60 shows, going back over 35 years. I can’t begin to tell you how important your music has been to me. As a proud son of New Jersey, I’m grateful for the respect you’ve brought to our state for your art, and for the way you’ve lived your life.
For a number of those years, I’ve been bothered by the dramatic announcements by your advisers that the latest on-sale has sold out in “five seconds” or whatever, when the fact is that those shows are not sold out at all. There are thousands of tickets being held back. The effect of this, for the less savvy or inexperienced concertgoer, is to drive people into the arms of scalpers in the near term, because they’re afraid that if they don’t pay the exorbitant prices they’ll miss out. The fact is that if they would wait, they would find that thousands of tickets suddenly appear out of nowhere shortly before the show from official sources, not to mention the additional thousands that are offered on eBay, or various message boards, at face value, or less.
Your team has a long history of speaking out against ticket scalping, and yet their actions are so contrary to their words that it almost seems like they are somehow complicit in the secondary market. I still believe in you enough that I’m not quite ready to believe that, but I’m also not sure what else to think at this point.
Instead of announcing sellouts to add to your already glorious legacy, a friend suggested that perhaps the following would be a more accurate statement, and far more fair to your fans:
“We have sold all of the tickets presently available for our show. As soon as we determine our production and other requirements, there WILL be more tickets made available. We urge you not to patronize people who are attempting to sell tickets to our shows at outrageous prices. You WILL have another opportunity. Just stayed tuned, and we’ll let you know when.”
Now that’s a statement that anyone can get behind. The best thing about it is that it’s the truth, which past statements have played fast and loose with. I know that these statements don’t come from you, but as I’m sure you’d agree, you are the boss (Boss), and the buck stops with you. Your music has had such a deeply personal effect on your fans, including me, over the years, that I know you want to continue to enjoy the love we have shared. In fact, it would make me really happy if the statement above, or something like it, came with your signature, or in your voice. That way there is no doubt about who is doing the talking.
I don’t think that you are by any means the only artist who has taken a wrong step in the turbulence that surrounds the music business these days. It has to be a difficult road. The inexcusable greed of companies like Ticketmaster and Live Nation (and thank you to Jon Landau for his stand against their merger) is part and parcel of the overwhelming avarice that has engulfed this country, from banks, to credit card companies, to health care insurers. Sometimes it seems like an overwhelming battle reverse this trend, but it has to begin somewhere. It has to start with us.
I should point out that as a journalist, I often don’t have to pay for my tickets, so I have no personal axe to grind here. I hate to see innocent people being taken advantage of though, and unscrupulous people reaping the rewards. I believe that is what’s happening here. I also know that as a person who has done so much good for so many people, you can’t possibly approve of this behavior. You’ve always asked us to “show a little faith,” and we have. It’s time to restore that promise. It’s time to say enough.
Incidentally, although this is appearing on our site, my views are my own, and do not necessarily represent those of my colleagues at Popdose.