I do not attend very many big-name concerts or shows. Now don't get me wrong; I hear a lot of good music and I have met many of the best jazz musicians on the scene today. I just don't go to the "hot" concerts -- which is why I was taken by surprise at the blatant ticket scalping that occurs around these events.
Case in point: My six year old was dying to see "Hannah Montana" in person. Probably every elementary school girl in America can tell you about "Hannah Montana," the hit Disney Channel TV show starring Miley Cyrus, the 14 year old daughter of country music sensation and TV star Billy Ray Cyrus. The show is a runaway hit, spawning a merchandise flood of clothes, dolls, a hit CD, and a nationwide tour for Miley and another popular Disney Channel act, the Jonas Brothers.
It was impossible to get into the Ford Center box office website the morning that tickets went on sale. Later, we were stunned to discover that tickets for the Oklahoma City show sold out in under five minutes. Shortly thereafter, tickets appeared for sale at Ebay and other ticket outlets. Asking price? $150 to $1000 and up. Check this out:
Many people are justifiably upset about scalping on this scale, which is the work of cyper-scalpers using computer hacking techniques to hijack legitimate online ticket vending sites and buy hundreds of tickets in seconds. Such malfeasance cheats the performer and it is a blatant rip-off of consumers. It also pushes shows like this one out of the financial reach of most families. Tracking these scalpers is difficult, and involves examining thousands of ticket purchase records in an attempt to find multiple purchases using the same credit card or originating from the same IP address.
Scalpers say it's only business. The Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon disagreed. After angry parents contacted him in the wake of a similar Hannah Montana scalping situation he sued GoTickets, Tickets Now, and Ticket Solutions for violating Kansas City's laws that prevent ticket scalping. He managed to get 1000 tickets released, with stipulations that no more than two tickets could be sold together and no tickets could be picked up before showtime.
I say "good for him." And if you find tickets for the Oklahoma City show for under $50, send me an email.
TheStreet.com has put together a Hannah Montana Stock Index, built around companies who have a stake in the Hannah Montana franchise. If you want to show your kids how to make money legitimately, have them track the performance of these companies.