Most live music fans get pretty riled up at ticket scalpers, especially if they snap up tickets to sold out shows purely for the point of on-selling them for a profit (just ask the burnt Bruce Springsteen Tour buyers).
When it comes to the artists performing however, most touring artists aren’t too fussed at who’s turning up to their shows – touted tickets or not – as long as they actually turn up.
Never mind a musician’s personal moral compass on the matter, or the suggestion of the controversial practice of artists keeping tickets to scalp for themselves (as Kid Rock pointed out earlier this year).
Enter Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, the hugely popular hip hop duo behind two of the year’s most streamed and successful songs, ‘Can’t Hold Us’ and ‘Thrift Shop’, the latter famously taking out Triple J’s Hottest 100 last year.
The Seattle based duo also regularly sell out huge venues when they roll into town, just as the forthcoming Future Music Festival 2014 headliners did the last time they were Down Under for a tour earlier this year. Their huge concert sales has seen them placed among the likes of Eminem, Pharrell Williams, and Kendrick Lamar as one of the year’s highest paid hip hop artists.
So why would Ryan Lewis and the man behind the Macklemore stage name, Ben Haggerty, bother with ticket scalpers? Because it makes for entertaining viral video viewing, that’s why. “Only two songs?… Two-hit wonder” – Macklemore
Nicely timed, following a week on from ticketing companies slamming proposed re-sale legislation by the NSW Government, the American duo have released a video of them prank calling scalpers selling tickets to the pair’s upcoming American tour, which includes a sold out three night run in New York in mid-November before a trio of sold out hometown shows in December at the 17,459 capacity Key Arena.
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Rehearsing a series of hammy voices, Macklemore settles on a (poor) toffee British accent before calling up a ticket tout who’s reselling four tickets to one of the Key Arena dates online. While Lewis swigs from a bottle of Jameson and urges his co-partner to “put your game face on,” Macklemore crank calls the unidentified woman, jokingly comparing the popularity of the group to Justin Bieber, Wiz Khalifa, and A$AP Rocky.
“Hello I’m calling about the Craigslist tickets for the Macklemore show,” the rapper teases in his fake UK tones, toying with the anonymous ticket-seller through some playful banter.
“I don’t know if the bloke is worth $65 a ticket,” he replies to the woman’s offer, before attempting some pretty unconvincing bartering for comical effect. “You’ve got to understand I’m trying to wheel and deal here,” he says.
The scalper replies that $60 a piece is her best price, pointing out the inflated prices of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis tickets on some sites for “$100 plus a ticket.” Indeed, some punters are pushing for up to $350 for General Admission tickets through Viagogo – the online selling platform that recently launched in Australia, making it the 50th territory in its global expansion as it criticised the NSW Government resale proposals.
“What’s even this bloke’s best song?” quizzes Macklemore over the seemingly high cost. “He’s got two of them actually,” says the unsuspecting punter.
“Only two songs?… Two-hit wonder,” Macklemore declares before eventually giving up on his ruse. Cue hyena-like laughter from Lewis and a not-so-subtle prompt to “Buy Tickets: Macklemore.com.”
“You missed out a little bit because this is actually Macklemore… and now I know you don’t exactly like my hair… or my two hits,” says the rapper with a pang of resentment. “I have more songs… We have more songs than two.” (Yeah lady, like ‘Same Love’…)
Whether you find the scalper prank video cringeworthy cat-calling or a harmless, cheeky bit of fun, it’s listed as ‘Episode 1’ – meaning we can expect more from the ‘Thrift Shop’ pair.