The band Phish is perhaps best known for its laidback musical jams that mirror the mellow ethos of its fanatical following, but a recent problem with Live Nation’s new ticketing operation has some of its fans acting like angry metalheads at a Metallica show.
As tickets to Phish’s upcoming reunion tour went on sale on the Live Nation Web site late last week, the new ticketing system reportedly froze for many customers due to the heavy traffic the onsales generated.
At least 1 million people supposedly tried to buy tickets to the show when they went on sale. Live Nation did not respond to a message seeking comment, but a spokesperson told Rolling Stone that the problem was quickly fixed.
“At the moment of the onsale, there were 1 million people trying to buy tickets, and that overwhelmed the system for a minute. We sold all the tickets to all the shows. At the end of the day, it was successful,” the spokesperson told Rolling Stone. Interestingly, as a value added bonus Live Nation offers one-year subscriptions to Rolling Stone with purchase of some Phish tickets.
Dozens of fans on internet message boards have reported various problems with the ticketing system, including having to re-enter credit card information multiple times; spending well over an hour on the Live Nation site trying to obtain tickets only to have the request denied; fans receiving “Error 404” and “HTTP 500 Internal Server Error” message; among others.
The Phish onsale could be considered the first big test of the company’s new ticketing system, which is barely a month old.
Phish disbanded in 2004, so the popular group’s reunion tour is sure to become one of the concert highlights of 2009, and most of the shows have sold out. In addition, with the band taking a hard line against ticket resale for tickets obtained through its own Web site, the Live Nation-bought tickets are even more valuable because those can be resold.
“Phish Tickets has a zero tolerance for scalping and insists that all patrons of our service abide by our policy stated herein. Tickets made available through this site are intended only for fans who are actually planning on attending the shows requested,” the Phish Web site stated, but it does not mention the problems on the Live Nation site. “It is strictly prohibited to resell any tickets obtained through Phish Tickets for more than the purchase price. If you are found to be reselling, trading or brokering tickets that you purchased through our site for profit, Phish Tickets may at its discretion cancel your ticket order and all other pending orders in your name.”