In light of ongoing cases where fans have been fleeced by online ticket scammers, while one angry music fan even took to creating their own Twitter-based exchange service to scupper scalpers, it’s understandable that live music lovers get agitated when they miss out on tickets to their favourite band, or alternatively forced to pay astronomical prices for the privilege.

If you’re one of those wondering why all the seats for international tours get snapped up in minutes, it might not necessarily be the hype and several thousand other gig-goers charging the box office to blame, but instead the touring artists themselves.

That’s according to American musician Robert James Ritchie, better known by his rap-rock persona Kid Rock, and as The Age reports the 42-year-old performer has allegedly blown the whistle on what he says is a common practice in the music industry of artists scalping tickets to their own shows in order to judge the market value of their concerts.

Speaking on CNN Lives chat show to promote his own upcoming Best Night Ever Tour, in which the artist is selling tickets at a budget rate of US$ 20 a show, Kid Rock claims that many bands and high-profile performers are guilty of scalping seats to their own concerts. “It’s gotten out of hand – the price of entertainment,” Rock tells interviewer Piers Morgan. “A lot of artists already do it… We take some of our tickets, we put them on [ticket swap site] StubHub, overcharge and look what the market determines they’re worth.” – Kid Rock

When asked about non-VIP tickets going for up to US$200 to concerts like Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake, Rock spat, “It’s garbage. It’s highway robbery – I don’t care who you are.”

“I would consider both of them in the circle of friends in the business, but I don’t agree with it,” he continued before implicating the scalping practices, “I know sometimes the market determines that. I’m gonna scalp a 1,000 of my own tickets (at a lower price) there’s a market for it.”

“I’m going to tell people, a lot of artists already do it. I think I’ve been guilty of it in the past, too… We take some of our tickets, we put them on [ticket swap site] StubHub, overcharge and look what the market determines they’re worth,” said Rock.

But the rap-rocker is seeking to make amends for the high price of live entertainment with his new summer tour, saying there needed to be more transparency and honesty about costs, including taking a pay-cut of “50 to 100 grand a night” by offering tickets for a flat rate of $US 20.

Rock says he arranged the budget deal with promoters Live Nation after approaching them about how to bring the cost of tickets down, offering putting costs – from alcohol, food, merchandise, parking – “all in a pot, and split it up between the number of people that come (to the show).” An arrangement that would result in Rock fronting some of the costs, “I’m like ‘no problem!’ I make a lotta money, I can take a pay cut,” he says.

“People are going to be pleasantly surprised when they come in there and they see, you know, four hot dogs and two Cokes for $20… We’re going to give free coffee at the end,” Rock says of his tour, which kicks off in Virginia on June 28. A post on Kid Rock’s official website also declares a ‘War On Scalpers’ warning fans about fake pre-sale tickets for shows that “aren’t even on sale yet!” Credit Card company presales, fan club allocations, guest and VIP lists – all are given access to tickets ahead of general public sales…

The issue of self-scalping by artists also surfaced in an article by Buzzfeed entitled ‘6 Reasons It’s So Hard To Buy Tickets’, where they describe the practice of artists and their management regularly selling “the allotment of tickets on the secondary market to the highest bidders,” claiming it “has been going on for decades,” and is “legally in the clear.” 

They also point towards a report from The Smoking Gun in which the scalping scam is described in euphemisms as part of the official tour rider for pop star Katy Perry.

The Buzzfeed article also describes several other reasons why the ticket buying market has become so difficult for punters as artists and promoters find ways to reap more money from touring. Credit Card company presales, fan club allocations, guest and VIP lists – all are given access to tickets ahead of general public sales and cited as reasons that disgruntled fans are placed into a feeding frenzy for concert tickets.

In fact, an investigative report into ticket sales by NewsChannel5 into public allocation of tickets of a Justin Bieber concert (wait, dont’ go!) found that of the 13,783 tickets available for the concert, only 1,001 of those were made available to the general public.

A measly 7% left for Beliebers to scramble over after the lion’s share of tickets went to members of American Express (approx 6,000 tickets), the Bieber Fan Club (approx 3,000 tickets), the venue and the pop star himself (allocation of 2,000-ish tix), and 10% to VIP level ticketing.

Keep that in mind next time you miss out on tickets in the box office rush to a major international touring band!

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