Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Empty Seats at Taylor Swift’s Concerts Are Good for Business

Taylor Swift’s “Reputation” tour, which kicked off last week in Glendale, Ariz., is a test case in squeezing out scalpers and capturing more profits from ticket sales.

The Wall Street Journal reports the strategy, which could reset how tickets to high-profile tours are sold, is to use aggressive pricing to limit the ability of scalpers to purchase tickets and later sell at higher prices. In addition, a program from Ticketmaster is aimed at giving passionate fans earlier access to tickets at discounted prices.

One downside to the plan: empty seats at some of the roughly 36 stadiums on Swift’s 53-date tour.

However, even if those seats remain unsold, the “Reputation” tour already has grossed more on its North American leg than Swift’s previous tour in 2015, which brought in more than $250 million world-wide. Across the 17 stadiums Ms. Swift will have played on both tours, she has already grossed 15% more for “Reputation,” with some of those shows still months away.

For decades, artists and their teams have claimed “sold out” shows as a badge of honor showing the high demand for their music.

For the current Taylor Swift tour, would-be concertgoers were encouraged to register for Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan program months before tickets went on sale. They could boost their standing in the ticket queue by watching music videos and purchasing the “Reputation” album or merchandise. Users then received codes that allowed them the chance to purchase discounted tickets over a six-day, presale period.  The program is supposed to identify “real” fans and give them a chance to purchase tickets without having to compete with scalpers.

Half of Ms. Swift’s tickets were allocated to the Verified Fan presale; Ticketmaster said soon after the presale that only 3% of those tickets had made their way to secondary sites such as StubHub, compared with an average of 30% to 50% of tickets for high-demand artists.

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1 comment:

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