I as lifelong music and theater lover am so over with what has happened as regards the Hamilton the Musical ticket-buying schneick show.
The morning immediately following the 2016 Tony Awards broadcast, I scanned my inbox and saw, wonder of wonders/miracle of miracles, Hamilton the Musical Tickets on sale at Ticketmaster (ok, legit site, all good). This new block of tickets for the NYC Broadway venue would take fans to the show from about June on outward to the end of the year.
Having seen this notice a few hours on the late side, I knew it was a lost cause, but I had to click anyway...whether a glutton for punishment or an optimistic fool, I had to, just in case a couple shows had a couple seats left. It would warrant a quick trip to NYC, no question. So I clicked and scanned and here is what I saw.
Show upon show was sold out via initial sale, with "official" Ticketmaster resale seats starting at about $1,000 to just shy of $3,000 per ticket. Original ticket prices range from $139.00 to $199.00. Each and every show has/had tens if not hundreds of these so-called resale seats available for our price-gouging pleasure. Ditto for Stubhub and Ebay, where hundreds more reside, with asking prices in even broader ranges. The spec-seconds at Ticketmaster were being bought up from one scan of a show date to the next. A fun btw: German for bacon is 'Speck.'
I get it, that Ticketmaster is happy to be able to broker each purchase twice, its hefty service charges - a fee/ a fee nothing more - is their financial coup. So for them, not caring a wit about the act of actually seeing a show (though per our Justice system,"Ticketmaster" is a person too), doubling (and tripling...) their cash intake by fully underwriting a market others call ticket scalping is a no-brainer.
Get this, Ticketmaster maximum purchase number: It is not 2 or 4 or 6 or 8. Ticket maximum is 14, which means brokers and their bots can sell out shows in moments, not minutes.
Lin-Manuel Miranda himself just posted an op-ed in the NYTimes, lamenting this low-down turn, Stop the Bots From Killing Broadway. His piece was accurate but focused on tech and the "professionals," and imo in tone far too friendly. And moot, for so long as there is a public willing to accept grotesquely inflated values by paying what is being asked by career scalpers and wannabe buck-makers, this market will continue unfettered, even if Big Al's brilliant Godfather asks otherwise.
I propose we regular, real citizen theater goers, curb the demand and Just Say No. How I would love to see these scalpers sit on every last one of their fat tickets. Although I really really really want to see this musical, our new century's "Superstar," I will not line some scalper's pocket with far more gold than the pockets of those who created something or who actually did something, who worked to earn it. I'll get around to seeing Hamilton the Musical eventually. Although its super-nova stars will be long gone, there are new rising stars who will take over, who I can support when they are on stage. Fact is, it's a play, a night out, and I have other stuff going on. I will survive this deprivation. But I have to wonder: In our world of commerce-based mile markers, is a stupidly overpriced ticket really that cool a thing to nab? Does this fill theaters with music lovers or status seekers? And at what point does the axiom, "a fool and his money are soon parted" apply more accurately, no matter how fab the show?
How about Ticketmaster reign in its maximum quantity at the very least? How I would love to see the public skew the outcome of this speculating and not buy into at least the most ridiculous of numbers. But full disclosure, I will be playing the real-price roulette wheel for the upcoming Chicago run, no doubt chapter 2 of the Hamilton attendance pipe dream....
Allow me to close with a quote from the original man of the hour himself, Alexander Hamilton:"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything."
photo by Kimann, Mac n bacon property of the author