A long-standing problem with online concert tickets is coming to the forefront thanks to the emotional nature of the Tragically Hips final tour.
Fans hoping to see The Hip one last time after learning of frontman Gord Downie’s terminal brain cancer diagnosis took off work, refreshed the page dozens of times, and even coordinated with friends to buy pre-sale tickets, only to have them disappear in seconds and then appear soon after on sites like StubHub at exorbitant prices.
For example, London’s August 8th show at Budweiser Gardens is advertised with tickets costing between $58 and $138 on the venue’s website but can be found on StubHub for between US$220 and US$1695.
“These professional re-sellers use something called bots, automated buying programs that can buy, can enact a hundred transactions per second,” music journalist Alan Cross explained on our brother station FM96 on Tuesday.
“Their frontman is dying from incurable brain cancer. This is supposed to be a pre-sale for fans, the most dedicated people who have followed the group for maybe up to thirty years, and all the sudden these robots come in, grab all these tickets, and then profiteer on what’s a very sensitive issue for Canadians.”
Cross adds that this is an ongoing problem and he doesn’t see an end in sight.
“We saw it with Pearl Jam earlier this year. Same kind of thing, people all freaked out with a presale and a special code and all the rest of it and all the sudden the tickets disappeared within seconds. I’m wondering if there is a will, like a genuine will on behalf of the industry to stop this. Listen, it’s good for business if I can sell out a show in one minute.”
Tour dates were announced last Wednesday with extra dates added on Monday in in Vancouver (July 26), Edmonton (July 30), Calgary (Aug. 3) and Toronto (Aug. 14).