April 23, 2007

Parallels: Anti-Scalping Laws and Copyright [7:38 am]

This is an interesting editorial to come out of the LA Basin. And particularly notable in light of the article I posted yesterday about the rise of the live concert business over that of the record companies — the parallels are interesting to think about, particularly in the case of those jurisdictions where the state restricts the rights of resellers (i.e., scalpers): Ticketmaster’s crocodile tearspdf

Ticketmaster is in the resale business too — fans at selected venues who want to resell their tickets can do so, provided they pay another service charge that Ticketmaster splits with the venue. There’s no reason Ticketmaster can’t compete in the secondary market with StubHub, Craigslist, RazorGator and every other reseller out there, with no artificial constraints on what people do with their tickets.

Ticket prices, typically set by event promoters, tend to be inflexible. Plenty of people are willing to pay far more, which is one reason the resale market is thriving. Meanwhile, Ticketmaster has won no friends among event-goers, who resent the company’s ubiquity and multiple service fees.

The thriving resale market for tickets reflects how hard it is in the digital economy to constrain customers’ choices, no matter how dominant a company’s position may be. And with so much extra money in the resale market, is it any wonder the Rowdy Frynds wanted a piece of the action?

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