Michael Jackson Sells Out 50 London Shows as Controversy Brews On Secondary Market

March 13, 2009 9:12 AM ET

Tickets to all 50 of Michael Jackson's This Is It! concerts at London's O2 Arena have completely sold out, the BBC reports. After 360,000 presale tickets sold out in record time, the remaining tickets went on sale to the general public this morning, and they didn't last long. Hundreds of fans "queued" outside the O2 Arena this morning to wait for tickets and over a quarter million people stormed Ticketmaster.co.uk. In the end, more than a million tickets for the This Is It! run were sold. But with a ticket this high in demand, there's going to be a huge secondary market, and that's where the controversy begins.

As Rock Daily reported this week, the Wall Street Journal recently exposed artists who set aside their own tickets for sale on the pricier secondary market; This Is It! promoters AEG Live did just that with some of the best seats to all the MJ shows and stuck a deal making Viagogo the authorized secondary-ticket dealer for the shows. AEG CEO Randy Phillips told Billboard.biz, AEG cut a deal with Viagogo "to give fans access to premium seats and the market would set the price on only a small percentage of the house every night; and, secondly, to give fans a peer-to-peer platform where they know these tickets aren't counterfeited."

But then, "Viagogo did something really bad yesterday we had no idea they were doing," Phillips said. Apparently Viagogo then took those tickets they received from AEG and started e-mailing other secondary ticket brokers, offering them packages and discounts and thus raising the price on the secondary tickets even higher. Plus, by pushing these tickets off on brokers, neither AEG or Jackson would see the additional profits from these tickets that sold in the trinary market. AEG Live filed an injunction against Viagogo to ensure that the site actually sells tickets to fans instead of brokers.

With the 50 sell-out shows official, Jackson more than doubles Prince's previous O2-record of 21 consecutive packed arenas. "Not only are these concerts unparalleled, these records will never be broken," Phillips told the BBC. "We knew this was show business history, but this is a cultural phenomenon."

Related Stories:

Report: Artists Marking Up Own Concert Tickets to Profit Off Secondary Market
Michael Jackson's "This Is It!" Tour Balloons to 50-Show Run Stretching Into 2010
Michael Jackson Adds 20 Concerts to London Run as Scramble for Tickets Begins

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