Article by Ella Jones
Have you ever tried to purchase a concert ticket for a popular band, well aware you might have to fight on the web-server for? That you have to be on the ticketing website pressing refresh the moment it strikes sale-time? This was me at exactly 9 am, buying tickets to see the Arctic Monkeys on their UK tour. Let me tell you – it was one of the most stressful buying experiences I’ve ever had.
To provide some back story, the Arctic Monkeys have been on a 6 year hiatus, no tours, no music, nothing for 6 whole years. You would have thought that for any other band, their hype would have died down a bit, that most of the fans would have moved on. Not for the Arctic Monkeys. Though admittedly I was a little late on the band-wagon for the Arctic Monkeys (Ironically, I discovered them just after their AM tour in 2012), they’re the sort of band that don’t just have a one-hit wonder.
Alex Turner, the lead singer, has been relatively active on the music scene, releasing his second album with Miles Kane as The Last Shadow Puppets just 2 years ago. Of course, they did their tour, and of course, I was unable to get tickets (back to that later). So, the hype for the Arctic Monkeys has been kept running truly because of their talent and the pure classics that their albums are filled with. The fans remained strong, despite the band being well and truly M.I.A.
This was until they released a Europe, U.S and UK tour. It all sounds fine and dandy until you realise the complex struggle that is buying tickets for these concerts at a reasonable price, or even getting a ticket at all.
If there is any advice I’d give to you before you try to buy tickets for a band, SIGN UP TO THEIR PRE-SALE! Also, make sure you check your emails the week the tickets are being released because, stupidly, I didn’t check my emails and missed the pre-sale (silly me) for the UK tour. We ALL know how difficult it is to ge tickets in the general sale, so give yourself two chances. Anyway, onto why I have a major issues with the way tickets are distributed.
I’m sitting at my laptop, waiting for the sale-time of the Arctic Monkey’s tickets. I refresh the website a few times, just to make sure it’s fully loaded. I’ve even already signed up for the ticketing website to make my life easier. It hits 9am, I refresh the page, and it doesn’t load. I’m assuming that for every single person on that website at 9 am, the same feeling has hit. Suddenly, it feels like you’re going to fail at buying tickets all because of a web-server. The page is saying the website is busy, it refreshes itself, the same page shows up.
I let it sit for a few moments before I give it up, stressfully locate the band’s website and try that link for tickets. It works (just about), and luckily they’ve added more dates to the tour. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get standing tickets (like I initially wanted) but being under stress, and just wanting to see my favourite band, I bought seats. You might say, “you got tickets – why are you complaining?”, but I’m not always so lucky. For The Last Shadow Puppets I was unsuccessful, and likewise with The 1975.
Since that moment, I’ve been contemplating how on earth we can make buying tickets fair for the fans. I scrolled through twitter to find that hundreds of people were unable to get tickets, instead sitting in website queues waiting for it to crash. You’d have thought the ticketing companies would have realised the demand these tickets had, and increased the web-server capacity. But it’s complicated business. You can’t identify who’s an actual fan, and who’s buying the ticket just to sell it on for £400 (or £1000 in some cases for these Arctic Monkeys tickets.)
Could ticketing companies potentially spread out their sales by the hour, and hold back tickets to be distributed at different times, so that the website isn’t jammed with traffic at the one time? Should the tickets for each venue be distributed on different days? Perhaps the tickets should go back to being distributed from the box-office of the venue, or is that out-dated in the online commerce world? Would a physical queue be more fair than an invisible queue which might or might not place people in equal places? Maybe tickets should be sold when people buy the merchandise/music, so that only the real fans have access to the tickets?
In conclusion, if ticketing companies start to get their act sorted out, do let me know, because for the last few years they have only let to my disappointment, and the disappointment of 1000’s of others on multiple occasions. Why hasn’t this been sorted out yet?