For one of the first times since completing its acquisition of TicketsNow, Ticketmaster has begun scalping tickets by directing fans of a sold out show to its TicketsNow auctions. Fans of Radiohead, who were looking for tickets on Ticketmaster, are now being directed to TicketsNow, a move that some ticket brokers feared when the acquisition was approved by the federal government in February.
Radiohead purchased ads in print and on radio to promote the sales of their concert tickets on Ticketmaster, but after those tickets are sold out on Ticketmaster, customers using the Ticketmaster website see the screenshot below. The “Find Tickets” link then directs customers to TicketsNow, which is listed as Ticketmaster’s “partner site.” However, TicketsNow is a secondary ticket seller owned by Ticketmaster.
According to a source close to the situation who requested anonymity, a TicketsNow executive helped assist with the sale of more than $1 million worth of Radiohead tickets on the TicketsNow website, which at a margin of 25 percent allowed TicketsNow to generate a gross of more than $250,000 from the deal.
(The accompanying screenshot is from Ticketmaster on April 15, 2008. Tickets were not available for Radiohead’s concert at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater on May 9, 2008.)
The move marks the beginning of the new relationship between the two companies. In fact, when customers search for other sold-out events on Ticketmaster, they are usually not directed to TicketsNow. For example, when tickets to other popular shows, such as the hit musical “Wicked,” are sold out, customers are encouraged to use different search methods on Ticketmaster’s website. Ticketmaster has redirected fans to TicketsNow for some sold out concert tours, such as the Jonas Brothers.
An attempt to reach a spokesperson from Ticketmaster was unsuccessful. Jennifer Swanson, spokesperson for TicketsNow, was in a meeting and said she would reply to questions later.