After a quick sell-out for his planned September 11 benefit concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City, acclaimed performer Jay-Z chastised ticket brokers and scalpers who sought to resell the prized ducats for a premium.
All proceeds from the initial sale of the moderately priced $54.50 tickets went towards the New York Police & Fire Widows’ & Children’s Benefit Fund. However, when the roughly 20,000 passes sold out within minutes of the box office’s September 8 opening, it didn’t take long for some tickets to crop up for resale on the secondary market at inflated prices to match demand — some in the high three- to four-digit range.
The hip-hop entrepreneur and superstar responded quickly, voicing his displeasure that others would gain financially from the benefit.
“We are truly disheartened that certain individuals would choose to benefit from what is meant to be a 100% charitable event,” Jay-Z said in a statement. “We do not support any profits made from reselling any ticket that was meant to be purchased by honest fans.”
An initial report from New York’s Daily News noted that one unnamed site listed the $50 ducats for as much as $45,000. StubHub, the largest secondary ticketing company, had a listing for that amount on September 9, but quickly pulled it from its inventory.
When asked for comment about how the company monitors its exchange, particularly in the case of charity tickets, a representative for StubHub said the company had a “strong stance” in regards to listing tickets for charitable events and that the matter was being investigated.
More than eight hours after TicketNews contacted the company, StubHub released an official statement that it would continue listing tickets for Jay-Z’s concert in cooperation with the concert’s chosen benefit fund.
“We strive to provide a first-in-class experience for our fans and have chosen to partner with the New York Police and Fire Widows’ and Children’s Benefit Fund for this event, rather than removing ticket listings and turning fans away,” said Chris Tsakalakis, President of StubHub. “In keeping with the original intent of the concert, we want to be sure that any StubHub profits from Jay-Z’s show go directly to these families.”
Through the early morning hours of September 9, some benefit tickets also cropped up on resale site TicketNetwork, the parent company of TicketNews. However, those listings were removed before 10 a.m. that same day, according to a standing policy.
“TicketNetwork is no longer listing Jay-Z tickets on our exchange, and has a long standing policy of letting charities list tickets for sales and returning the proceeds of those tickets,” TicketNetwork founder and CEO Don Vaccaro told TicketNews. “Unfortunately Jay-Z’s concert producers failed to take advantage of that policy and raise more money for the charity.”
Another secondary marketplace RazorGator also initially listed Jay-Z’s benefit tickets among its inventory on September 9. A company spokesperson did not return requests for comment at the time, but as of September 10, the site no longer lists any tickets for the event.
Later this fall, Jay-Z will perform a slate of regular concert shows as part of the promotion for his latest album “The Blueprint 3.” Public onsale dates for the upcoming fall tour begin on September 11. Additionally, the effort’s release date was moved from September 11 to September 8, possibly spurred by an early leak of the record that surfaced on the Internet.