We’ve been quietly following the movement and groups fighting against restrictive ticketing practices for big concerts. Basically, there have been unprecedented shows over the past year or so – including in Boston – at which only ticket buyers can get in. If the name on the stub doesn’t match your driver’s license, then you had better make some other plans.
With the possibility of these sorts of operations catching on, you might say that we’re more than just a little interested in keeping tabs on said practices. So when Charles Currier, a concierge at the Ames Boston Hotel, pitched us a unique angle on the matter, we dragged out the old soap box. Sit back and enjoy the show. If you can get in.
-Chris Faraone, DigBoston News + Features Editor
Hey Black Keys,
I don’t mess with your livelihood, so why are you hampering mine? As the Executive Concierge at Ames Hotel Boston, I am responsible for providing our guests with resources from transportation to tickets to live entertainment events. Unfortunately, if my guests want to attend the Black Keys concert this September which recently went on sale, it will be far more difficult because of their use of restricted ticketing practices.
When you purchase restricted tickets for a show or game, your rights and options as ticket holders are severely limited compared to traditional tickets. The purchaser of the restricted tickets must be present with their credit card and proper identification in order for the whole group to gain entrance. In the case of concierges like me, that would mean hopping in a cab with my guests and traveling with them to the venue – clearly an impractical option.
In my line of work, I am often required to search through the secondary market in order to accommodate more difficult ticket requests. Unfortunately, the rise in restricted ticketing means less transferrable tickets for hospitality professionals to share amongst themselves in order to do their jobs. Furthermore, restricted ticketing causes a shortage of inventory on secondary markets, as fewer people are able to resell their tickets – unless you are selling them through one of the big-ticket issuers’ secondary marketplaces. By restricting tickets, Ticketmaster and the like are able to get a cut of both the original and secondary sale of a ticket.
Which brings me back to the Black Keys. As I mentioned, they will be playing the TD Garden this upcoming September. The Black Keys like to put out the image of a carefree rock band there to share a musical experience with their adoring fans. However, if you plan on going to the show, you’ve better read the small print before purchasing your tickets. Can’t make the show at the last minute? Sorry, no transfers. No credit card? Sorry, no sale. Friends running late? Sorry, no admittance. According to ticketmaster.com, the Black Keys opted to use restricted ticketing out of concern for their fans. But restrictions are bad for fans. They’re only good for Ticketmaster and its partners that dominate the primary and secondary markets for concerts.
Massachusetts has the ability to protect its fans from restricted ticketing practices. Legislation is pending on Beacon Hill that would allow consumers to opt out of restricted tickets for all shows. New York has passed a similar law without any negative impact on its concert schedule. It’s long past time for Ticketmaster and its partners to put fans first, but since they refuse to do so, the legislature should act.
In the meantime, let’s hope the Black Keys will reconsider their decision to restrict the rights of fans and make it harder for my colleagues in the hospitality industry to do their jobs. And before you head out to your next concert, make sure to read the fine print.
Charles Currier, Concierge, Ames Boston Hotel