It’s overcast in Chicago. It’s mid-Spring and you wake up each day wondering if it’s going to be the most beautiful day you’ve ever seen or the gray overcast and piss rain Coldplay’s Chris Martin walked through in his band’s video for their breakout single “Yellow.” For Chicago fans hoping to score a ticket to Coldplay’s rare club appearance at the Metro, the weather called for shortshrift.
I hate ticket brokers. I hate them so much that it led to a very short, but very serious battle over advertisers here at GLONO HQ. [We decided against it, for now. – ed.] I think ticket brokers are killing live music in America. We can debate the merits and shortfalls of Capitalism until Lenin returns, but what it boils down to for me is sheer greed and that has killed more good in this world than any other deadly sin.
People lined up for hours, many overnight, for a chance to get a ticket to see Coldplay at the Metro, a 1,200-capacity venue. Whenever I hear about shows like this, the cynic in me rears up and forces me to sneer and scoff knowing full well that there’s no chance in hell more than a handful of those fans will get tickets at face value—if any at all. I’m sometimes lured into participating like when the Stones announced their theater date at the Aragon on this last tour (capacity: 3,700). But true to form, tickets were sold out within one minute of online sales start leaving ticket brokers as my only avenue—and at a cost that would have had me on my knees in unseemly locales throughout the city.
Saturday morning, according to the Chicago Tribune (Registration required) was no different. Despite their dedication and resolution, a mere 21 fans got tickets through the Metro’s box office. The rest went straight to brokers and within hours were listed at a staggering $540.
When I was a kid in Michigan, selling a ticket for more than its face value was called scalping and it was illegal and punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a fine. It was illegal because nobody involved with the event got a cut of the mark-up; not the artist, not his management, not the venue, not the promoter, none of them. Despite my repeated attempts, not one ticket broker in Chicagoland would respond to my inquiries for them to justify the practice of hording tickets to later sell them at hundreds of times the face value. If any brokers are reading this, we’d love to hear your side of the story.
And if any Illinois politicians are reading this, we’d love to hear why scalping is still legal in this state.
Previously on Glorious Noise: Find the Cost of Convenience, a first-hand account by one of those suckers who wait in line for tickets at the box office.