Mick Jagger, a Ticket Scalper and an Economist Walk Into a Bar
Economist Mark J. Perry has a simple solution to Mick Jagger’s secondary ticket market complaints. Sell more tickets.
From Perry’s blog:
From an interview with Mick Jagger in the Chicago Tribune about the Rolling Stones’ upcoming North American tour, their first since 2006:
Q: People are already fretting that the secondary ticket market will gobble up most of the best seats and resell them at several times face value. What is your attitude toward these secondary market sellers and are the Stones participating at all in those profits?
Mick Jagger: I’m very much against the secondary ticket market. I don’t know anyone who isn’t. We have a lot of secondary market problems in the U.K., it’s really bad there. And lots of artists are starting to participate in it, because they put the tickets up at a certain price, then the tickets get marked up by the secondary sellers and someone else gets twice as much as you. Personally, we don’t participate in it. That’s the view we take. I think it should be illegal, and in the U.K. it would be very easy to stop it. It’s a very concentrated operation you could stop immediately. It’s a bigger problem in the U.S., more difficult to contain, but they don’t even try. It should be made completely illegal. If people don’t like it, don’t complain to the artists. Each state should make secondary reselling illegal.
… if Mick Jagger wants to eliminate the secondary market for Rolling Stones concert tickets, he doesn’t need any new government rules, laws or legislation. He should simply proceed as follows:
1. Mick, you and your representatives (agents, managers, promoters, etc.) control the supply of tickets. So stop under-supplying concert tickets relative to the demand from your fans, and immediately start increasing the number of Rolling Stone shows and tickets for your North American tour.
Take a lesson from the movie industry – there’s no active secondary market for movie tickets, because they don’t under-supply the number of tickets the way the music industry does. If a blockbuster movie like Argo or Lincoln played in one theater in each city for one night the way rock concerts are typically scheduled, then there would be a huge secondary market with movie tickets selling far above their face value.
Bottom Line: A secondary market for concert tickets only exists because musicians and their representatives under-supply and under-price concert tickets relative to demand and market forces.
2.Mick, you and your representatives control the price of your concert tickets. So stop under-pricing them relative to their true market value. Raise ticket prices to accurately reflect market forces and you’ll eliminate the secondary market.