I was recently perusing the Durham Performing Arts Center website to check the date on a concert, when I saw something I hadn't noticed before. Tucked into the bottom of almost every listing was this notice:
NOTICE OF PROHIBITION OF ONLINE RESALE OF ADMISSION TICKETS
Pursuant to §14-344.1(b) of the General Statutes of North Carolina, the Durham Performing Arts Center has filed a notice with the NC Secretary of State prohibiting the Online Resale of Admission Tickets to this event.
This goes back to a story I wrote last year, about parasites -- broker sites that try to pass themselves off as venue websites, even though they're populated by scalpers selling tickets well above face price. After that story ran, DPAC management met with the Secretary of State's office and decided to give prohibiting online resales a try. So far, it's working at least some of the time.
"We filed our first prohibitions early last fall," says DPAC general manager Bob Klaus. "We tested five shows and to our amazement, many of the biggest ticket re-selling sites dropped those listings."
Brokers, of course, don't agree that this is a good thing. The argument for "secondary market sales" is that it's classic free-market economics based on supply and demand. The ticket-broker industry's position is that attempts to regulate ticket resales are misguided and even counterproductive.
"You can't regulate the resale of tickets," declares Gary Adler, general counsel for the Washington, D.C.-based National Association of Ticket Brokers. "If you try and make restrictions, you are limiting the amount of tickets in the market. The secondary market when it's open and free is a beautiful thing, it puts tickets into people's hands at a fair market price. Maybe that's more than face value, but that's the band's fault for not having more accurate information about what they should be charging."
Whether you agree or disagree with that viewpoint, it's an issue that won't be going away anytime soon. In fact, you can probably count on the NATB lobbying the North Carolina legislature about amending this law before too long. For more, see the story in Sunday's paper.