How the Resale Market Has Reshaped Concert Ticket Pricing

Photo illustration of one hand handing a ticket to another hand
Illustration: Variety VIP+: Adobe Stock

Note: This article is an extension of the VIP+ special report “State of the Live Music Business,” for subscribers only.

The ticketing resale market has undoubtedly shifted the way fans of live music are securing tickets for shows.

Nearly three-quarters of concert attendees are willing to purchase tickets from a ticker-seller platform such as Ticketmaster Verified Resale or AXS Official Resale, according to a recent survey from Variety Intelligence Platform and UTA IQ’s Nov. 1 “State of the Live Music Business” special report.

The catch? Ticket prices are rapidly increasing, especially on resale platforms.

Concert tickets have increased by 35% since 2019, according to Pollstar. And yet Catherine Yi, UTA’s talent strategy executive, noted that fans are willing to pay the price for the artists that they love — no matter how high the cost.

“When people really care about a show, they will do whatever it takes to attend,” said Yi. “They’re going to splurge no matter what, and that includes buying resale, buying above face value.”

Because fans are eager to acquire tickets for acclaimed performers — think Taylor Swift’s Eras and Beyoncé’s Renaissance tours — they are more likely to divert to resale platforms for tickets. In fact, the live music report found that 45% of those who attend are somewhat-to-completely willing to pay above face value for a resale ticket.

Jem Aswad, executive music editor at Variety, sees the trend but says this is so because “a lot of the time, there is no other option” for fans to purchase tickets.

With the prevalence of resale platforms today, fans have a reliable backup method of scoring tickets to their favorite shows, even if word is they’re “sold out.”

“That’s the thing — no show is really sold out anymore,” said Yi. “If you can resell on Ticketmaster, there’s always an opportunity to buy tickets, which didn't exist before. That’s why people are like, ‘If I have the opportunity, I’ll pay for it.’ It’s just that you’re going to be paying above face value.”

Combating this issue has proved difficult for major resellers. However, Robbie Brown, music agent and co-head of festivals at UTA, has seen progress, with the likes of Ticketmaster developing its Verified Ticket application that operates as a fan-to-fan validated purchase.

“[We] are seeing the primary ticketing sources offer a verified resale ticket,” he said. “I think the fan is comfortable knowing that if they buy it on demand, they’re getting the real thing, and I think that’s a step in the right direction.”

Still, he acknowledged, the problem of verification persists. “It is infuriating, and no one seems to have a solution for it — although they are trying.”

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