Veteran rockers Red Hot Chili Peppers, whose upcoming European tour will only use restrictive paperless tickets, are apparently finding it difficult to move tickets and have turned to secondary ticket marketplace Seatwave to help with sales, despite claiming they want to keep tickets out of the secondary market.
According to the company, more than 5,700 tickets for the tour are listed for sale on its site, or approximately 200 for each of the 27 shows in 11 countries for which it lists tickets.
For the UK shows, all of the tickets for sale on the site are listed for either £45 or £49.50, which coincidently is the same amount as face value for the tickets, according to promoter Kilimanjaro Live, which is an arm of Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG). (See the screenshots below.)
On its site, Kilimanjaro Live takes a decidedly anti-secondary market tone when it describes the restrictive paperless ticket aspect of the tour, stressing that tickets are non-transferable. The UK leg of the tour, which will take place in November, was announced earlier this week.
“In order to stop tickets being re-sold at higher than face value prices through secondary markets and ticket touts, entry on the night will only be given to ticket holders who have the original payment card used to make the booking along with the confirmation/receipt containing the same corresponding payment cardholders details,” Kilimanjaro Live wrote on its Web site.
On the Seatwave site, the fact that the tickets are paperless is not immediately made clear: “All tickets purchased together on one payment card must arrive at venue together with the cardholder. The cardholder must enter the venue also – tickets are non-transferable.”
How so many tickets ended up on Seatwave at face value, especially considering tickets went on sale on Wednesday, July 27, is unknown. A spokesperson for Joe Cohen, CEO of Seatwave, told TicketNews that he was traveling today, July 29, and could not be reached for comment. A spokesperson for Kilimanjaro Live did not immediately reply to a message seeking comment.
Tickets for some of the shows can be found on viagogo, a rival site to Seatwave, and other sites for an array of prices, virtually all of which are above face value.
Graham Burns, chairman of the UK-based Association of Secondary Ticket Agents (ASTA), told TicketNews that he believes Kilimanjaro Live cut a deal with Seatwave to help sell tickets once initial onsales were tepid. Unlike in the U.S. where a single company, such as Ticketmaster, might handle ticket sales for an entire tour, a tour of Europe will use several vendors to sell tickets because venues essentially do not have exclusive ticketing contracts with one company.
“Nobody’s buying them because the public knows they can’t resell those tickets because it’s too much of a hassle,” Burns said. “These artists and promoters think paperless tickets are the answer, but if you wish for paperless tickets you better be careful. You lose the hype and the advertising that that secondary market can give. That’s what drives sales, just look at last year and Take That sales, which were huge. But, when you try to cut out the secondary market, you don’t generate any buzz.
“The whole thing is turning into a mess,” he said, adding that he believes that for every $1 that a promoter spends on adverting for a tour, the secondary market combined spends $8.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers are not the first band to experience lackluster sales of paperless tickets. Last year, some of Justin Bieber’s shows did not sell out due to the use of paperless tickets, and the same thing happened to Miley Cyrus a couple of years ago.
“Kilimanjaro tried to control the distribution of tickets using this scheme, and they’ve done so to such an extent that now nobody wants to buy them,” Burns said.