Former Live Nation Chairman Cohl Throws Water on Constant “Bot” Blame Former Live Nation Chairman Cohl Throws Water on Constant “Bot” Blame
Longtime Toronto concert promoter and former Live Nation chairman Michael Cohl might be an unlikely source to find throwing water on the constant blaming... Former Live Nation Chairman Cohl Throws Water on Constant “Bot” Blame

Longtime Toronto concert promoter and former Live Nation chairman Michael Cohl might be an unlikely source to find throwing water on the constant blaming of “bot” usage whenever a concert sells out in moments. But expecting the unexpected seems to be the way to go in 2018 (much like the prior year.)

“You’re only going to have 6,000 to 9,000 ticket buyers (who get through) and you could have 300,000 trying … So the idea that people will just immediately say, ‘Well, it sold out in a minute and a half and it’s cheating’ — that’s total crap. Of course, it had to sell out instantly. Supply and demand — period. That is never going to change — bots or no bots.”

In an article from the Toronto Sun featuring the lament of fans related to the recent lightning-quick sellout of Elton John Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour shows in the Ontario city, Cohl laid bare some of the real facts of the matter in the concert industry. Yes, he said, he supports the recent passage of stronger restrictions on ticket resale and “bots” – computer programs designed to purchase tickets in rapid fashion when available.

But “bots” are often a catch-all straw man blamed for literally every sellout that has happened in recent years. And due to the opacity of how many tickets are available to the general public, it’s just become accepted that nefarious bot-sters are stealing all of your tickets.

Cue Cohl, who knows a bit about how holdbacks and presales work, given his work with acts like Michael Jackson and The Rolling Stones as well as his stewardship of the live entertainment behemoth which now owns Ticketmaster. (He was CEO of the Live Nation Artists Division and a member of the company board before departing in 2008).

“By the time [fan club presales, VIPs, “friends and family” and other holdbacks are] all done, if you’re limited to four tickets per purchase, it’s approximately 6,500 people (over two night’s at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre where Elton John is playing that will get tickets,” he said. “You’re only going to have 6,000 to 9,000 ticket buyers (who get through) and you could have 300,000 trying … So the idea that people will just immediately say, ‘Well, it sold out in a minute and a half and it’s cheating’ — that’s total crap. Of course, it had to sell out instantly. Supply and demand — period. That is never going to change — bots or no bots.”

Obviously this will likely be a blip on the radar screen as promoters gleefully push the “bots are ruining everything” storyline while putting a fraction of total tickets out for the general public, but a notable blip it is for those who might be paying attention.

Comments

comments

Sean Burns Editor

Sean Burns is the editor of TicketNews.com. He has served as a reporter, editor and website administrator since the early 2000s. He holds a BA in journalism from Loyola University and a MA in Liberal Arts from Johns Hopkins. He can be reached via email at [email protected]