Scalper bots are ruining the industry

Illustration: Madalyn Drewno

Illustration: Madalyn Drewno
Concert-goers need to take back the power

There’s a dark power that has been unrestricted for many years, thriving on innocent concert attendees’ wallets. Its grip has wrung wallets dry, and now it has become too strong to be stopped. Venues like the Ogden, the Fillmore, the Pepsi Center, and Red Rocks have succumbed to this evil. Third-party scalper bots like StubHub and Ticketmaster have taken over the buying and selling ticket scene. This has gone far enough.

Late January, Talking Heads tickets went on sale for a Red Rocks Amphitheater show in August. Thousands of fans cracked their sweaty palms—laptops out, multiple tabs opened, and cell phones ready with the ticket purchasing pages open—awaiting the 10 a.m. tickets to release. Once 10 a.m. hit, fans clicked their mouses furiously and rushed to type in a credit card number. “Sold Out” flashed on the screen. Less than five minutes after the tickets went on sale, getting a seat at The Talking Heads show was hopeless. It’s just another concert that has succumbed to third-party scalper bots.

To no one’s surprise, StubHub had already had thousands of tickets on sale for that same show that released only a few minutes prior. Buying tickets through the Red Rocks Amphitheatre website was hopeless, as it is for almost every show now. The only choice now is to go through third-party sellers, which inflate ticket prices from the usual $55 Red Rocks price to $70, $80, or even $150.

Last summer, Red Rocks hosted a Gorillaz concert. According to the Denver Post, StubHub already had over 900 tickets listed for the show, hours after they officially went on sale. A pair of front row tickets sold for $950 a pop—a far cry from its $52.40 price at face value.

Third-party ticket sellers like StubHub have contracts with the company AEG Live Presents, which runs the shows at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Yes, the venue needs to make money off tickets, but is it necessary to have so many scalper bots that regular fans only have a miniscule chance of buying an affordable ticket? It’s a completely unfair game these venues and third-party ticket sellers are playing.

Concerts are one of the few places people can have an experience that’s affordable and special. Just like everything else in this world, bigwig companies decide to be greedy and take over something good like ticket prices. Third-party ticket sellers don’t care whether a fan has been working their butt off for months to afford a concert ticket at Red Rocks. It’s time for fans to take back the power.

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