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Tegan and Sara call out concert ticket resale sites

Tegan Quin (left) and Sara Quin make up the Canadian indie pop duo, Tegan and Sara. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

Tegan Quin (left) and Sara Quin make up the Canadian indie pop duo, Tegan and Sara. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

Canadian indie pop duo Tegan and Sara are right there with music lovers about the current state of seeing live concerts.

Earlier this week, the “Closer” and “I Was a Fool” singers took to X (formerly known as Twitter) with a post questioning why people have the ability to re-sell their concert tickets online.

The Calgary-formed band is currently in the middle of their 2023 Crybaby Tour, where they played shows in cities such as Toronto, Ottawa, Orillia, Ont. and Cavendish, P.E.I. earlier this summer.

But the difficulty in navigating the concert ticket system in recent years has left the artists baffled.

“Am I dumb? Why are there ticket resale sites for concerts? I can’t resell a plane ticket. I can fly, cancel or change it after I buy. I can’t re-rent my rental car. Or re-rent a hotel room. Like wtf. Go ahead and explain it to me in the comments,” Tegan and Sara shared on Wednesday, in a post that’s now been viewed more than 210,000 times. “What am I missing?”

Fans resonated with the Canadian music stars and their take, with many expressing their own thoughts on how live music got to where it is today.

Sites like Ticketmaster allow people who purchased tickets to re-sell them if the event organizer has enabled that option. If so, ticket re-sellers can list their tickets for the price they choose, whether that’s below the price they paid or higher.

Other sites such as StubHub and Vivid Seats allow ticket holders to list tickets they’ve already bought, including tickets purchased from other sites.

For many events, that creates the issue of scalpers who buy event tickets for a low price and sell them for a higher price, attempting to make a profit off of fans willing to purchase higher-than-normal ticket prices.

It’s a practice that isn’t new.

U.S. senators have called for more regulation, claiming Ticketmaster has a virtual monopoly on concert ticket sales. (Photo illustration by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

U.S. senators have called for more regulation, claiming Ticketmaster has a virtual monopoly on concert ticket sales. (Photo illustration by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

In the late 1860s, it was a concern when writer Charles Dickens went on his second reading tour and thousands of fans lined up to purchase tickets, according to “The Life of Charles Dickens” by John Forster. Back then, resale tickets for the event rose from $5 to $50, after “sidewalk men” paid bystanders to wait in line for passes, the Saturday Evening Post reported.

On top of inflation and rising demand, tickets for many concerts nowadays have reached astronomical prices. In April, The Wall Street Journal even created the dub “the year of the $1,000 concert ticket.”

Recent tours for artists like Bruce Springsteen, Beyoncé and The Weeknd had fans paying thousands of dollars for front-row seats. Some resale tickets for Taylor Swift‘s Eras Tour were even reported to be listed for $11,000.

For many fans, snagging tickets to Taylor Swift's Eras Tour has been a major ordeal. (Photo by Kevin Winter/TAS23/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management)

For many fans, snagging tickets to Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour has been a major ordeal. (Photo by Kevin Winter/TAS23/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management)

In the past few years, some Canadian provinces have proposed plans to crack down on ticket scalpers.

In 2018, British Columbia’s government began consulting the public about ticket scalping, where it introduced legislation a year later to ban bots from buying mass amounts of tickets and reselling them. However, the province’s Ticket Sales Act only applies to businesses using ticket-buying software and not individuals.

Ontario also started investigating ways to stop ticket scalping in 2018, with the Ford government introducing a law that would’ve capped ticket resale prices at 50 per cent above the original price. But that plan was eventually shelved.

Other parts of the world have also begun introducing laws to help regulate ticket reselling, including lawmakers in Brazil who proposed an anti-scalping bill — nicknamed the “Taylor Swift Law” — in June ahead of the singer’s concert dates in the country later this year.

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