If you’re not comfortable with foul language I’m going to give you an opportunity to bow out of this article like right now because there are few things in this world that inspire the kind of rage I feel after being intercepted when trying to buy tickets to damn near ANYTHING these days by blood sucking, bottom feeding, party-pooping, parade-raining, motherfucking StubHub! So there may be more than my usual peppering of obscenities in this post, but can you blame me? We’re talking about an organization who consistently delivers a level of heartache and suffering trumped possibly only by the New York Mets, which is ironic because you can actually buy tickets to one loser-fest off of the other and they even share the same stupid colors. (Sorry but I was born into Mets fandom over thirty years ago and it’s been a serious bitch ever since 1986)
But ANYWAY, for anyone who is unfamiliar with the evil empire that is fun-busting, money-grubbing, soul-preying StubHub! (OK, I’ll take it down a notch) it’s a website that would have you believe it exists only as a place for fans to buy and sell tickets to various types of events but what it truly provides is an internet arena for “brokers” who have purchased tickets in bulk off of sites like Ticketmaster to then resell them for exorbitant fares which are often quadruple the original price, if not more. Which as we all know is scalping plain and simple. And scalping is illegal. So how is what StubHub is doing, not?
Some people want to argue that all StubHub does is establish a market value and if people are willing to pay a certain price for an event, then technically, that’s what the ticket is worth. Well I can’t argue with that. Why? Because I don’t know anything about economics and I’m not here to debate supply and demand. I’m here to talk about the buyer’s experience vs. a bunch of despicable assholes who make their living ripping people off by scooping up all the tickets to an event that they don’t even care about in order to extort those who do. Plain and simple.
Recently tickets went on sale for my absolute, very favorite band to see live right now: Die Antwoord. Despite the fact that I went online at precisely the INSTANT sales began, I wasn’t able to move quickly enough and tickets sold out before I could get my hands on any. However I was immediately directed to where I could find them on sites like StubHub, TicketsNow, and ConcertTicketCenter.com. Only what was initially a $40 ticket, could no longer be found for less than $108 and even went up to as much as $330. Automated systems that work for these sites are moving so fast, it’s like regular people don’t even stand a chance at getting a spot anymore. How gross is that?!
It was one thing when all of the bigger shows at places like Madison Square Garden were selling out in seconds. There was the time that StubHub ruined my mother’s birthday present (Stevie Nicks four years ago, the price of the ticket tripled and I couldn’t afford to take her) or when they killed my idea for Jeff’s Christmas present (I wanted to bring him to see The White Stripes however all the tickets were bought up by brokers and then doubled online) but now it’s even the smaller shows that are being infiltrated. Die Antwoord is a relatively unknown band but the people who actually like and have supported them since the beginning are now in a position where they can no longer afford to see them because a robot caught on to the fact that they became slightly more popular in the last year or so. One more buzzkill to add to a long list of good times that sites like StubHub have come along and stomped the shit out of.
And I don’t even want to hear that nonsense about how sometimes you can get tickets cheaper if you wait til the day of. It rarely happens and no one wants to do that anyway. And even if that is the case, it still doesn’t detract from StubHub’s ultimate goal which is to take advantage of people. Sure you can argue free market and supply and demand and all that crap but the bottom line is, if you’re someone who’s repeatedly selling tickets for double and triple what they originally cost because you have the technology to get to them faster than the actual fans, then you suck in a pretty spectacular way.
A while ago I even went so far as to contact StubHub’s customer service department when I was frustrated about not being able to get tickets for me and some friends from out of town to see Skream and Benga, an English dubstep duo who were playing a considerably modest venue. Here is a portion of StubHub’s response defending their operation after I expressed my feelings about what a piece of shit website they were running:
Even if StubHub did not exist small numbers of people/or corporations would purchase all the tickets for events and make it so that getting tickets would be next to impossible.”
So essentially their argument is “Well other people engage in shitty business practices, so it’s OK that we do also.” Then they said:
Having a marketplace like StubHub makes a secure place for buyers to come and be sure they’ll get tickets, with a guarantee from our company, at a price they are willing to pay when they otherwise might have no access to tickets. Or worse, they might have to resort to sketchy dealings in front of the doors of a venue where they have no guarantee of their tickets being valid.”
What they’re saying here is “Whereas before tickets would easily sell out to events, we guarantee you’ll be able to get them on our site.” Well of course anyone CAN buy tickets on your site in the sense that they are available but not everyone CAN in the sense that they’re at a price that’s affordable. The reason they’re available is because brokers that use sites like StubHub have bought all of the tickets at face value and are now charging so much that only a few people are willing to pay the inflated prices. So really the only demographic StubHub gives security and availability to with any consistency are rich people.
In fact their whole justification for existing is flawed. Am I the only one who remembers being able to go to a concert before these ticket sites existed? Sure, occasionally big shows would sell out and that was a bummer but you accepted it and moved on. However, StubHub would have you believe that before they came along and “legitimized” everything, attempting to secure seats at a sporting event was a Mad Max type free-for-all where you might even occasionally risk your life engaging in “sketchy dealings” outside of stadiums.
In the end, there’s really only one way to stop these leeches from continuing to suck off of the enthusiasm of music and sports fans alike and that is to STOP buying from them. It sucks, I know. Not going to see Die Antwoord in June is going to sting, especially when technically it is possible to if I’m willing to fork over the extra cash. I just can’t bring myself to support the gangster shitbag ticket brokers who jacked up the price regardless of whether or not I can afford it and I hope you feel the same. More and more artists are committing to direct sales of tickets to fans, giving us ways to avoid dealing with scalpers but the bottom line is, if we all stopped purchasing shows off of StubHub and TicketsNow and the like immediately, they would be out of business in no time. Leaving us to return to the “pre-StubHub madness” of nearly always being able to get tickets to a concert or a ball game at a reasonable price.
P.S. If you’re on board with this post, you can see a more in depth description of the vile nature of StubHub’s dealings and alternative ways to stop them right here.