Monday, March 8, 2010

Why concert tickets are sometimes hard to get

Yesterday's N&O reports that the March 27 Wilco concert at DPAC was sold out within 17 minutes. But if you visit sites such as Ticketsnow or Stubhub, you can still find plenty of seats, albeit at a considerable markup over list price. To quote the late, great Marvin Gaye, "What's Goin' On?"

Even though DPAC has 2700 seats, only about 1000 went on sale to the general public. Some were presold to DPAC patrons or members of Wilco's fan club. Others were reserved for guests/friends of the band. No doubt these are some of the sources of the tickets currently for sale online. Prices at Ticketsnow range from $57 to $251 apiece; originally all seats were on sale for $35 according to the DPAC website.

The economic puzzle here is why do the band and the concert promoters set initial prices so far below market clearing levels. Bands make most of their money from touring as opposed to recording, so one has to wonder why Wilco is sharing consumer surplus with others.

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