Fan clubs to essay contests: five most effective ways ticket scalpers have been thwarted

Categories: Lists

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For years, ticket scalpers have been the bane of existence for artists and venues. Directly and indirectly, they've been blamed for everything from rising ticket costs to fewer tours. Over the last few years, though, artists have started to fight back, and they've employed some interesting ways to do so in the process. Click through to see the five most effective strategies.

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Jon Solomon

5. Ticketmaster/Tom Waits Paperless Ticketing

Tom Waits' 2008 Glitter and Doom tour was the first concert tour to implement paperless ticketing. This meant concertgoers had to purchase tickets online or by phone with a credit card, and when they arrived at the venue, they had to present their credit card with their ID. While it certainly cut back on scalping, there was one serious problem: You couldn't give your ticket to a friend if you were suddenly not able to make it the show. It's a time honored tradition in concert going -- maybe the babysitter cancels, or you get sick, or whatever -- but giving friends tickets to a show you can't make has been happening ever since ticketing was invented. Still, to this day, it's not as easy as it should be to transfer tickets, unless you don't mind lending your buddy your credit card for the evening.

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4. Bob Dylan at the Warfield

Before there were service charges and online ordering, people had to camp out to get tickets for shows, so only the most dedicated would end up with them. Sure, there were still scalpers, but they weren't as prevalent as they are now. In order to fight corporate surcharges and scalpers all at once, Bob Dylan decided to do his thing old-school; tickets were only available from the Warfield box office, and there were no service fees. It was a simple enough idea that many big shows around the world have followed suit. Bob Dylan certainly wasn't the first to revert to this method, but he was one of the biggest.

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Aaron Thackeray

3. Foo Fighters' Essay Contest

The Foo Fighters recently embarked on an invite-only tour of private garages. Each locale was determined through an essay contest in which the entrants made a case for why the Foo Fighters should play their town. Rather amazingly, Lyons got the bid, and the show, sponsored by Blackberry and KTCL, went down at Oskar Blues. On top of being incredibly awesome, it was also impossible for scalpers to get tickets for this one as it was an invite only event.

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Aaron Thackeray

2. Nine Inch Nail Fan Club

Trent Reznor has been one of the most outspoken believers in fan-rights. He's utilized plenty of innovative ways to get his music to his fans, but he's also taken on scalpers in a way that's hard not to appreciate. If you signed up for the Nine Inch Nails fan club, you were given a chance to pre-purchase up to two tickets before anyone else at a lower cost. The only catch? You weren't allowed to physically pick up your tickets until thirty minutes before the show, after which you were escorted directly into the venue by security. These were the most premium of the tickets, too, not some nosebleed seats, meaning the scalpers, if they existed, were only privy to the cheapest tickets at the venue.

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Jon Solomon

1. LCD Soundsystem's Final Performance(s)

If ticket scalpers have bought all the tickets to you show -- especially if it happens to be your last, like LCD Soundsystem's recent final performance in New York -- the best thing you can do about it is just play more shows. Instead of trying to innovate in the ticket selling experience, LCD Soundsystem just added four more finale shows. Of course, there was still only one real "finale," but for anyone looking to party on the cheap, this was probably the best option.


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