By: Tatiana A. Ruru B.Comm. and Yulianti S. Utami S.H., LL.M.
In our previous blog, The Fight for Ticket Concert (part 1), post we explained that the ticket concert scalping business is a common practice in many countries, and several countries have taken certain actions toward preventing the overprice reselling practice.
The Fight for Ticket Concert (part 2)
However this time around we would like to perhaps try to understand the perspective of the resellers. Often this has been said as the fundamentals of basic microeconomics: the Law of Supply and demand.
With the end of the pandemic, the demand for live entertainment concerts and shows have bounced back and even doubled than before. As highlighted by the previous post, we have seen numerous incidents from several events that happened in Indonesia this year alone.
Society have been depraved of live events for the past 3 years during the global pandemic, and with this people are more inclined to spend more on concert tickets. People don’t mind shelling a few extra million rupiahs in additional to the retail price to have the chance to watch their favorite artists. On the other side, people sees this opportunity as a way to make quick buck – alas the rising problem of scalpers and the ridiculously overpricing of reseller tickets.
The practice of scalping and reselling have been around of decades, even in Indonesia. However, these days with technologies such as e-commerce and social media, the general public are more aware of the extremely elevated prices of the resold tickets. Digital payment gateways and e-commerce platforms have also made scalping more accessible and easier.
Thus this encourages a lot of people to participate and become a scalper themselves, hence becoming a problem when the majority of the people who purchased retail tickets have no intentions of going to the concert alone, but rather to resell at a higher price.
With this we would like to rethink what can be done over this unsettling issue in Indonesia. While we have highlighted the need for a government intervention or some sort of a regulation, this time around we try to get within both perspectives of the scalpers as well as the consumers.
So Again This Asks the Question – Should Anyone Interfere With the Overprice Reselling Practice?
There are absolutely ways in how both scalpers and fans or consumers can coexist peacefully and reap both the financial and entertainment benefits of live events. We think that the issues surrounding the price reseller charge for concert tickets are quite complicated, and there should be some intervention imposed by the government and artist management to demand some sort of fairness for their ticket distribution. We decided to put our shoes in different perspectives to fairly see what could be done for both parties.
Some actions to support the consumer protection regulations:
- Price Caps and Resale Limits:
Regulations should impose price caps and/or set limits on the number of tickets an individual can resell. These measures aim to prevent scalpers from monopolizing ticket supplies and driving up prices excessively.
- Transparency and Disclosure:
Reseller prices should be transparent with certain information such as face value, seat location, and any additional fees associated with the resale. This ensures that consumers are fully aware of the details before purchasing a resale ticket, preventing any potential surprises or misleading transactions.
- Anti-Bot Measures:
The use of bots are becoming a widespread concern. Bots can overwhelm the ticketing platforms and not allow genuine users to enter the queue or marketplace. Improved and enhanced technology should be implemented, such as the enforcement of captcha, restricting bulk purchases, etc.
Some arguments to support resellers’ perspective:
- Free Market Principles:
Some argue that ticket scalping should be allowed to operate freely in the market. Scalpers are entrepreneurs who take advantage of supply and demand dynamics. They argue that if there is a high demand for tickets, scalpers provide a service by meeting that demand, for a fee.
- Risk-Taking and Entrepreneurship:
Scalpers often argue that their activities involve significant risks, such as investing in large quantities of tickets with uncertain resale values. They contend that higher reselling prices allow them to recoup their investment.
- Individual Rights:
Scalpers assert that regulating their activities infringes upon their individual rights to buy and sell tickets freely. They argue that once bought, a ticket is theirs to dispose of or resell. Restrictive regulations, they claim, may interfere with their ability to maximize profits and exercise their economic freedom.
But of course there are no perfect solution to regulate both sides and protect everyone. While the government can slightly impose some framework to control the ticketing sales, all parties need to participate and be equal to everyone. For example, artists must intervene as well and protect their fans to ensure that all interested parties can attend a ticketed event in all fairness.
So, What Can be Done For Indonesia?
The debate surrounding ticket scalping regulations involves a delicate balance between protecting consumers and respecting the perspectives of scalpers. While some regulations exist to safeguard consumers from exorbitant prices and ensure transparency, scalpers argue for the right to capitalize on market dynamics and profit from their entrepreneurial endeavors.
Digital technology may come as a tool to ease consumers in buying tickets, yet it should reflect the corridors set up by regulation. Striking the right balance requires thoughtful consideration of both perspectives and the recognition of fair practices that protect consumers without stifling entrepreneurship.
Ticket scalping is indeed a practice that can happen anywhere. We have expressed our concerns about the recent incidents in Indonesia in regards to concert tickets being scalped and resold at sky-high prices. It is certainly a tricky subject and certain parties might need thorough and meticulous processes on how to make sure that ticket sales and resellers can practice fairly for entertainment event concerts.
- As mentioned above, some countries have begun to establish regulations and moderation of third-party resellers. Some of the enforced methods are putting limits or caps on reseller prices and ticket sales. Harsh punishments for third parties who are going against the regulation should be imposed. Reseller’s prices should be transparent as well. Additional transactional, platform, or services fees must be clearly listed out along with its actual retail prices. This way consumers are aware of the full amount of what they are paying for and there will not be hidden transactional fees.
- Concert tickets with names printed can also be considered. This means every ticket represents one government-issued ID. This system was introduced in Indonesia’s transportation reselling practice. One ticket for one ID policy had helped reduce the overprice reselling practice. However with this approach, it requires more crowd control and compliance from trained staff to make sure that this method is enforced during the events, which might seem troublesome for promoters.
- Last but not least is to officially livestream one of their concerts online as well for a much smaller fragment of the price. With that the fans can watch at the comfort of their own home and experience a live concert of their favorite artists. Much has happened with Korean artists’ concerts during the pandemic.
- In an effort to enhance ticket-selling-process’ transparency, we explore the idea of having a third party platform that gives a secondary market a transparent place. Reselling tickets may be done through a bidding process or regular selling. However, in a case of bidding, bids are open to the public, and the market will decide the price. In the case of one-one-one selling, at least the customer can see the other reseller’s price offer. A lesson from the Live Nation case in the US, where promoters cannot designate a reselling platform- due to monopoly action- should be taken as a precaution. This platform we suggest is meant to be an independent third party that gives space for the secondary market.
Of course, it takes a village to ensure that upcoming entertainment events to be hosted in Indonesia will be fair to all parties. Government legislation, promoters, vendors, potential resellers as well as the consumer themselves need to come up with a consensus that we all need to be fair and considerate among each other to ensure that everyone can enjoy their favorite musicians, comedian, athletes’ performances in Indonesia.
Hopefully within the near future we can see some changes implemented from all parties to limit or regulate scalping and reselling. This way we won’t feel the need to sacrifice our savings whenever our favorite artists comes into town.