Justin Bieber claims he values his fans more than anything, but he routinely scalps his “Beliebers” on tickets to his concerts, forcing them to pay a huge mark-up for seats. His management team, and apparently, he gets a cut of the profits.
The practice is highly controversial. Artists such as Green Day, Tom Waits, The Dixie Chicks, John Mayer, Maroon 5 and U-2 are vehemently against scalping fans. But Bieber isn’t alone.
Katy Perry also includes a rider in her concert contract that sets aside a block of tickets that she can sell on the secondary market at a huge mark-up, in effect double- or triple-dipping her fans.
Phil Williams, chief investigative reporter for NewsChannel 5 in Nashville, Tenn, discovered that members of Bieber’s management were withholding tickets from the public on Justin’s Believe Tour and selling them on the secondary market for a huge mark-up.
Tickets for Justin’s entire U.S. tour sold out in just one hour, but seats at several shows were never made available to the general public at regular mark up, according to Williams.
At the 14,000-seat show at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, only 1,001 tickets were sold to the general public. American Express claimed 6,000 tickets for pre-sale to its customers and 3,000 tickets were reserved for fan club members. Another 500 tickets were sold at a huge mark-up through Ticketmaster’s Platinum Exchange program and 900 tickets were reserved for VIPs.
Setting aside a huge block of tickets for pre-sale and fan clubs ultimately benefits scalpers who sell the tickets for inflated prices on re-sale sites. Bieber fan club members can buy up to four tickets in four different cities. Typically, the extra tickets end up in the hands of scalpers, according to the report.
Willams found Nashville tickets reserved for Bieber’s management for sale on Internet sites like TicketsNow for $216 to $246.
Taylor Swift also scammed her fans at her Sept. 2009 show at Bridgestone Arena, according to Williams. Only 1,610 seats were sold to the general public, the rest 11,720 seats went to insiders, scalpers and VIPs.
Not all young artists are greedy. Miley Cyrus cried out against the practice when she learned back in 2007 that some of her concert tickets were being resold for $2,500. She was only 14 at the time and urged fans not to buy them on Ellen DeGeneres.
Bieber’s Nov. 30 show at Madison Square Garden is already sold out, but tickets are available on the secondary market ranging from $125 to $700, about seven times the face value, according to U.S. News and World Report.
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