28 Feb 2017

J. Cole fans are really upset with Ticketmaster

5:28 pm on 28 February 2017

Fans are reporting tickets selling out in seconds - only to appear moments later on a re-sale site for five times the price.


J. Cole will perform in Auckland on December 1.

J. Cole will perform in Auckland on December 1. Photo: AFP

When Kiwi J. Cole fans woke up this morning, it was with hope and expectation in their hearts and the sweet knowledge in their minds that at 12pm tickets to their beloved rapper would be available for purchase. Competition would be stiff, but with determination and swiftness, they had as much chance as anyone of emerging the victor.

But alas this was not so: the time approached, arrived and passed. For many fans, tickets did not become available. Ticketmaster labeled the December concert "sold out" at midday.

To add insult to injury, this was not all: disappointed fans were then directed by Ticketmaster to a re-sale site, on which tickets for the show could be purchased at around five times the price, with one even reaching over $1000 - a steep mark-up from the original $120.

The J. Cole fans were incensed and took to social media they made their feelings known.


Fan Hannah Ireland told RNZ's The Panel that she was on the site at 12pm sharp when the tickets went on sale, only to be immediately referred to the Ticketmaster  Resale page. After refreshing the original Ticketmaster page for about an hour-and-a-half, Hannah got lucky: scoring two tickets in the allocated seating section.

But Hannah said that had she not been so lucky she could easily have been amongst those forced to choose between their wallet and their hero - and understands how they would have chosen to pay an exorbitant price.

"They would have just gone on the resale site and bought those over-priced tickets because they just really want to be there."


Are Ticketmaster encouraging scalpers by supplying its own resale page, in what would be one of the most brazen black markets in modern Kiwi ticketing history?

No, says a Ticketmaster spokesperson.

"Demand for tickets to J. Cole's tour has been huge, and unfortunately there are always going to some disappointed fans who can't get hold of these highly sought-after tickets,” the company said.

“Our priority is to help artists get as many tickets as possible into the hands of real fans, and we never place tickets on secondary market sites.”

But is this secondary market fair? And what can be done to regulate it? Not much it seems.

"Ticketing marketplaces are dynamic and prices change in line with demand”, Ticketmaster said.

“Ticket holders, not Ticketmaster Resale, control the inventory and the price of the tickets they list. With high profile events such as J.Cole, tickets are sometimes listed at prices higher than the face value.”

“Tickets very rarely sell at these elevated prices though, with many selling at face value or below the original price."

Though Ticketmaster Resale is a separate entity from Ticketmaster itself, the existence of the former is considered by the company to provide the safest possible platform for fans to use.

“Research will show you that resale platforms have existed since the times of Roman gladiators,” Ticketmaster said.