Bruce Springsteen fans are in an uproar after tickets for his upcoming tour disappeared in a matter of minutes, leaving many fans facing the prospect of paying as much as 20 times face value to snag tickets to the concerts.
While the prospect of a sold-out concert is hardly a new situation, in the case of Springsteen’s upcoming “Wrecking Ball” tour, it appears that the instant sell-out wasn’t a simple case of too many fans trying to buy too few tickets. Rather, it appears that an influx of computer “bots” jammed Ticketmaster with purchases, causing a significant number of fans to be locked out of the system.
According to reports from New Jersey, customers who attempted to purchase tickets through the Ticketmaster Web site experienced a webpage freeze, with a message stating that they had a “15 minute wait time until purchase,” which was displayed for upwards of two hours. Ticketmaster immediately released a statement, acknowledging that the site was malfunctioning and stating that the company was “investigating the source of the problem.”
Ticketmaster’s subsequent investigation found that traffic on the site was two and a half times greater than the amount seen previously for a concert of a similar level of anticipated popularity. According to Ticketmaster, the source of the traffic was computer bots. “Scalpers were using sophisticated computer programs to assault our systems and secure tickets with the sole intention of selling them in the resale market,” stated Ticketmaster in a released statement.
This is not the first time Springsteen ticket sales have sparked controversy. In 2009, fans who attempted to purchase tickets through Ticketmaster reported that the site was redirecting them to Ticketmaster’s secondary sales Web site TicketsNow, even though Ticketmaster was still selling tickets at face value to the concert. That incident sparked an investigation by the New Jersey Attorney General.
Currently, the only way for fans to purchase tickets to the affected Bruce Springsteen concerts is on the secondary market, where prices for some tickets have topped $7,000. It is not yet known if any legal action will be taken, either on the part of Ticketmaster or fans that were unable to purchase tickets.
However, New Jersey state representative Bill Pascrell told NJ.com that he intends to re-introduce legislation that would take steps toward protecting consumers from future ticket sale issues such as this. “We’ve got to take a very, very careful look at the use of high-tech computer programs. While many fans were unable to get tickets today, many brokers were able to get their hands on good seats … and put them up on secondary ticket sellers’ websites,” Pascrell told NJ.com.
If the Bruce Springsteen ticket debacle spurs legislation that once again changes state resale laws, the secondary ticket market could be forced to adapt once again.