Imagine making more money by doing the right thing
So last week I had a really good experience in reselling two concert tickets at their face value, an experience that chimed with my ultimate personal core value of FAIR.
Let me tell you that story, then I will explain how that links to the headline of “doing the right thing can make you more money”
It may not seem immediately obvious. After all, I sold tickets at face value, then am saying that doing the right thing can make you more money. Trust me though, all will be explained!
The Ed Sheeran effect on ticket resales
As many will have experienced, the market for concert and event tickets has become increasingly twisted and skewed over time. High demand events sell out in moments at face value then are immediately relisted at much higher prices. As time has gone on though, there have been accusations of the online ticket agencies themselves doing this to make further profits beyond their booking fees, as well as encouraging people to resell at the highest possible prices.
In the last year or so artists and some governments and agencies around the world have taken action to ban resale ticket agencies. Arguably the most notable has been Ed Sheeran taking action such that resale tickets to his concerts can no longer be sold by the big agencies. Instead, Ed Sheeran decided to partner with Twickets, a newer site that only allows fan to fan sales at no more than face value.
I remember this being a big story resonating earlier last year as I scrambled to find tickets to watch one of my sons swim in the Commonwealth Games in Australia. Australians LOVE swimming, so I was really pleased to ultimately be able to find the tickets we needed for each session via the events own fan to fan resale site and at face value, something that was simply not possible for major sporting events up until very recently (one would always. have to pay way more than face value).
Ed Sheeran is by far the biggest concert act in the world right now, so I feel this move was contributory to the large and market dominant agencies following his lead and making changes before government and regulators did it to them.
Lots has changed, but for now, I’ll name two. First, the two big agencies have now closed down their own separately branded ticket resale sites (which I had found very opaque in their branding and association, it felt a bit “dodgy” as the London argot goes). Second, Ticketmaster now allows easy ticket exchange sales of non-resale tickets bought on their site at, again at no more than face value.
Feeling good to sell at a fair price
So, a few days ago I looked to resell two tickets for an upcoming Fleetwood Mac concert in London coming up very soon, as I now have to travel on business on that date.
The face value on the tickets was nearly £350 and I bought them as soon as the tickets went on sale nearly a year ago, knowing that even the enormous Wembley Stadium would be a sellout. I was really looking forward to going, but when business travel changed that, hey, made sense to sell them on to both recoup the chunky ticket price and also make sure someone else got a chance to see this concert.
Remembering the Ed Sheeran story, I looked up Twickets, listed my tickets for face value, and within hours received a notification that they had sold and money deposited in my PayPal account.
At that point of sale, I noted that the way Twickets operates is truly transparent. I received the full value of the sale (face value of the tickets plus the Twickets booking fee) directly from the Paypal account of the fan who bought them from me. Once that occurred, the way Twickets is set up is that they then collect from my account their booking fee. All very transparent that this is a fan to fan site, not (as was often suspected at times of the major agencies), the agency buying in the tickets knowing they could sell them later for more money.
As I noted above, the value of FAIR is core to who I am in many ways, so I really love the way things have changed with ticket resales. It felt it had become unfair, with the excuse being given of “supply and demand” setting the prices, yet the almost total market dominance of only one or two agency sites (“oligopoly” anyone?) meant that this was not the “unseen hand” of the market setting pricing, but instead manipulation and, dare I say it, unfettered greed.
Assuming this idea of resales at no more than face value takes hold and stays in place, we will now have a market where:
- Event promoters set their face value pricing based on what they feel is fair to cover their costs and make a profit
- Ticket agencies go back to simply being in the business of just that, being an agent between buyer and seller and making their revenues and profits only on ticket sales.
- Ticket buyers choose to buy initial tickets at face value, knowing that the aftermarket (should they need to sell them for any reason) is such that they can only sell them for no more than the face value they paid.
Feels FAIR to me.
Can doing the right thing make you more money?
If these practices truly become the norm, my crystal ball says that many events will stop selling out within hours or even minutes, as the ability to profit from resale has now gone away. Yes, high demand events will still sell out, but I’d also figure that resales will now be more and more active with higher volumes of resales at face value.
Oddly enough, by acting fairly and ethically the big agencies may end up with a higher volume of ticket sales through those resales, thus may even make more money from their fees on each sale.
Imagine that, making more money by doing the right thing.
Hmm, sounds a little like my idea of the new triple bottom line.
Also published on Medium.