Report: Artists Marking Up Own Concert Tickets to Profit Off Secondary Market

March 11, 2009 3:04 PM ET

Brokers aren't the only ones getting rich off the contentious secondary ticketing market: According to a new report in the Wall Street Journal, many artists are cashing in on their own concerts by saving some of the best seats and hawking them on re-sale sites like TicketExchange and TicketsNow. WSJ cites Neil Diamond, Bon Jovi, Celine Dion, Van Halen and Billy Joel and Elton John as artists who have repriced and sold tickets via such vendors. Sources close to Diamond confirmed the set-up for the WSJ, while reps for the rest of those artists were unreachable or didn't respond for comment.

Ticketmaster CEO Irving Azoff tells the newspaper that brokers profit off driven-up ticket prices "without putting any money in the pockets of the artists," but artists selling tickets via secondary sites split the revenues from the higher-priced tickets between the artists and promoters. Ticketmaster defends the practice, saying their goal on the secondary market "is to give the most passionate fans fair and safe access to the best tickets." We're not sure about the "most passionate fans," but definitely the wealthiest fans.

On the flip side of this, we have the reunited No Doubt, who took premium tickets from their upcoming tour and offered them directly to their fan club at the normal price, according to Canada.com. This move seems like a more effective way of putting tickets into the hands of the "most passionate fans" and not the ones with the most cash.

With the Live Nation/Ticketmaster merger waiting for federal approval — and fans attuned to perceived injustices related to recent Bruce Springsteen and Phish onsales — there's a renewed scrutiny on the ticket industry. In Canada, Ticketmaster faces a class action scalping lawsuit. After the Springsteen ticket fiasco, Ticketmaster promised the New Jersey Attorney General it would stop linking consumers to TicketsNow. There will no doubt be pressure on Diamond et al. to reevaluate their ticket-selling practices after fans get a look at today's report.

Related Stories:

Ticketmaster Faces Scalping Lawsuit in Canada, Blames "Glitch" For Springsteen Debacle
Ticketmaster Reaches Settlement With NJ Attorney General After Springsteen Ticketing Fiasco
Live Nation Ticketmaster Merger Hearing Becomes Battle Over Chicago Music Scene

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