With tickets to LCD Soundsystem‘s quickly thrown together concerts at Terminal 5 set to go on sale tomorrow, February 22, the band is taking a unique approach in avoiding the use of paperless or traditional paper tickets in an effort to thwart resale.
The band pulled together the four Terminal 5 shows — scheduled for March 28-31 — after the April 2 show reportedly sold out quickly on February 11 through Ticketmaster. The sell-out happened too quickly for many fans and for front man James Murphy, who wrote an angry blog post on the band’s official Web site blaming ticket scalpers for scooping up all of the tickets.
As a result, for the Terminal 5 shows the band is not selling traditional paper tickets, but appears to be trying to skirt New York’s paperless ticketing legislation by requiring fans who buy tickets to the show furnish an ID at Will Call and then walk straight into the show. Last summer, the state passed a law that requires paperless ticket events also to make physical and paper tickets available.
LCD Soundsystem’s move is designed to thwart resale of tickets on the secondary market, but it also prohibits friends or family from giving tickets as gifts, or otherwise transferring tickets to someone if the buyer can not attend. Those two scenarios were cited among the reasons state legislators passed the ticketing law.
The band’s press agent, Steve Martin of the public relations firm Nasty Little Man, did not respond to messages seeking comment.
Murphy spells out the requirements for the Terminal 5 shows’ tickets in a blog entry on the band’s Web site. Tickets go on sale through Ticketmaster at 9 a.m. (EST) tomorrow and cost $40, plus another $8.95 in fees. The onsale will have a two-ticket limit.
In addition, Murphy wrote that Ticketmaster is taking precautions to stop software “bots” — software designed to surreptitiously scoop up large blocks of tickets by bypassing online security protocols — from acquiring tickets. The use of software bots is prohibited in New York.
“we’re told that ticketmaster will also sweep the online purchases daily and delete any duplications from potential scalper bots. (please come to the venue early on show nights – the line for entry may be long). if the tickets for the shows don’t sell out very quickly, we’ll stop the duplicate ticket thing and allow people to buy tickets for multiple nights. (just want to make sure all who want to go get a ticket before “multiples”, if that makes any sense).[sic],” Murphy wrote.
Murphy’s original blog post angrily denouncing ticket scalpers and the secondary market became a national music story, generating the most press and exposure in the band’s history. But, it also raised questions about how LCD Soundsystem and other bands handle presales and general public onsales.
The MSG show was supposed to have about 13,000 seats, with an undisclosed number of tickets also being sold through an allocation to American Express. Such sales are a common practice for bands because the charge card company pays an undisclosed amount to the band, and/or splits the ticket revenues, in order to give its customers first crack at tickets.
The number of tickets made available to AMEX customers, and to the general public during February 11 onsales, has not been disclosed.
In an article published this past weekend in the Wall Street Journal, in addition to the music industry newsletter by Bob Lefsetz, plausible scenarios are spelled out that detail how the whole ticketing debacle could have been orchestrated by the band and its representatives, possibly by holding back thousands of tickets, an allegation which Murphy vehemently denies on the band’s Web site.
Despite having never achieved wide, mainstream success, the band will likely sell out all five New York City concerts, which are deemed their “final” shows, very quickly. It’s difficult to tell whether the shows would have sold out nearly as fast without the current publicity.
Following the original ticket uproar, the band was booked for an appearance on “The Colbert Report,” which further increased their exposure.
According to ticket search engine and price forecaster SeatGeek, the average listing on the secondary market for a ticket to the MSG show is $470.
“The final LCD Soundsystem concert on April 2nd is one of the highest-priced tickets in New York,” Russ D’Souza, founder of SeatGeek, told TicketNews. “The ticket prices for the event were similar to what you’d expect out of a Lady Gaga show; her MSG concert tonight, February 21, had an average list price of $478.”
D’Souza also defended the secondary ticket market, vilified by Murphy, for actually legitimizing the common practice of reselling tickets.
“I do think it’s unfortunate to read the statements that LCD Soundsystem put out about StubHub,” D’Souza said. “They accused StubHub of being ‘barely legal’ and their comments suggest that they believe StubHub owns the inventory. In reality, StubHub, TicketNetwork, TicketsNow, etc., have done an amazing job completely legitimizing the resale market and enable thousands of consumers to get tickets at amazing prices, often below their original face value.
“There’s an immense amount of excitement about the show and the secondary ticket market tends to reflect the fair value of the ticket prices. LCD Soundsystem focused on a few outlier ticket price listings for several thousand dollars, but like any marketplace the price that the seller asks is not always what they will get.”