December is finally upon us, so the Christmas season is officially in full swing. This, as per usual, means a few changes for the consumer market. Expect everything to be red and green for a while. You can count on something eggnog, gingerbread, or peppermint being shoved down your throat at least once a week. Also, retail is no longer safe. As soon as something goes on sale, it will be fought over, argued for, and gone as soon as it appears. If you’re looking for that specific stand mixer in that one color your significant other just has to have, get it as soon as you find it; it may not be there when you get back.
Us music fans are already used to this, though. When our favorite artist announces a show, it is an outright scramble to buy tickets as fast as you can, get your foot in the door, and reserve your seat. Sometimes, the supply of tickets vanishes within minutes, leaving you up the creek without a paddle and really pissed off. If you do manage to find tickets once the show is sold out, good luck to you, trying not to exchange your first-born for a ticket.
If a show sells out just because there are thousands of people clamoring for tickets and they all decide to buy them at the same time, good for that artist! The sad truth, however, is that, when a show sells out within minutes, there are usually ticket scalping bots in the mix, robbing loyal fans of the chance to see their idol and forcing them to pay exorbitant rates on second-hand ticket sites if they’re desperate enough. Unfair as this practice is, those using the bot software certainly don’t care; they only want to make money off of us.
However, things are beginning to look up for us ticket-buyers. In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill into law, as of November 28th, that will place harsher penalties on those caught using bot software. Scalpers originally had fines for using their software, but the repercussions were not so painful as to stop them. In 90 days, things are going to be considerably different. Once the law officially takes effect, anyone in the state of New York caught using scalping bot software will be forced to shell out up to $1,000 or twice as much profit they made from their last scalping spree. Scalpers can also expect to spend up to one year in jail for their crimes against the market.
Personally, this is the kind of legislation I want to see! We’re living in a time where groups are fighting for better legislation and winning. It’s about time the arts and those who support them have a win of their own! Ticket scalping is a legitimate problem the US – well, at least New York – is finally starting to recognize and this does give me hope for better legislation in the future.
With New York taking this firmer stand on ticket bot software, my hope is that other states will be soon to follow suit. As time goes on, we may see states ideologically similar to New York jump on board and start passing tougher scalping laws of their own. Who knows? In ten years, we may actually see nation-wide action against ticket scalping! Bottom line, the future is beginning to look a bit more promising for those of us in the arts.
But now is not the time to sit down and rest on our laurels. You want to see this kind of consideration for our market grow and spread over the nation? Get up and get active! It is our right as people to be involved in our government and fight for better legislation. Nothing will be accomplished if we don’t do anything.
If you’d like to see the article that prompted this post, click here.
Once again, this has been the view from 214.