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Eric Church Declares War on Scalpers

Friday, September 26, 2014   (0 Comments)

Tennessean (09/13/14) Rau, Nate

Country music star Eric Church plans his upcoming tour to be affordably accessible to longtime fans by engaging in strategies to block scalpers and keep prices down, including paperless ticketing; checks of purchase orders to ensure no more than eight tickets per household per show; and the reservation of premium seats sold separately via Ticketmaster at market value, with proceeds donated to charity. Church's experiment is a test case as to whether a national tour can prosper while deterring scalpers, and he says the various tactics his tour will employ target "big ticket conglomerates." Church's manager Fielding Logan says paperless tickets have gone a long way toward reining in scalping, and he notes most of the artist's shows reserve about 4,000 lower-bowl seats for his large arena performances. They have a zero-tolerance policy on buyers transferring tickets to a different name. Critics of paperless ticketing such as Tennesseans for Ticketing Rights member Logan Pratt argue the practice violates property rights. He says his organization wants to ensure consumers have the right to freely transfer legally bought tickets, but Church say the issue revolves around scalping rings that use bot software to purchase tickets in bulk so they can be resold at vastly inflated prices. In 2013, Logan advocated for a failed attempt to pass a state law in Tennessee that would have required ticket broker registration; he hopes the bill can be revived next year.

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