The Ethics of Ticket Reselling

Is the Ticket Resale Profession a Career We can feel good about?

The legal issues with ticket reselling are fairly straight forward.  But what about the ethical issues of the ticket resale business.  This is a tougher question, and one that I’ve thought a lot about since embarking on this journey.  Again, several books address this issue….the one that covers it quite nicely is The Lazy Way to Buy and Sell Tickets For Profit .  I’ve heard people say that ticket brokers simply take tickets away from fans.  That they try to gouge those that truly want to go to the shows.

I certainly understand that argument.  But that’s not exactly true.  The people who buy tickets from ticket brokers are fans too!  Maybe even bigger fans, because they’re willing to pay more for the tickets.  I honestly don’t think it’s unethical or immoral to buy and resell tickets. 

It’s really a redistribution of tickets and profits so that more people get a piece of the revenue pie from ticket sales — other than just the promoters, the artists, and the venue.   In the end. the people that are most able to afford concerts pay the fair market value of tickets, not the face value .  There’s a big difference

Quite honestly, it’s the American way.  Our economy is based free market, capitalist principles.  When goods are priced incorrectly, entrepreneurs jump in to fix the faulty pricing.  And the smartest and most savvy will be the first ones in line to take advantage of it. 

In the case of ticket brokers, many tickets are not priced at fair market value because every seat has a different intrinsic value.  Promoters don't chose to price tickets individually.  The only way to truly know the fair market value of each concert seat is to allow the market to determine these prices. 

We’ve heard of house flippers…typically, we have no judgement of them.  Someone spotted a hot deal -  a property selling below fair market value – snatched it up and resold for a profit.  That’s what ticket brokers do….they become experts at finding and acquiring tickets that are undervalued in the market place, and then reselling them for a maximum profit.  And before you conclude that these guys are getting rich from it, it doesn’t seem that way to me.  Several of the sources I reviewed suggest that a typical profit rate is about 30%.  Sometimes more, sometimes less.

On a final note, let me say that SO many people are looking for additional income – these are tough times, and we’re all doing what we can to make a few extra dollars.  If some of these ticket revenues can go to people trying to support their families and make their mortgage payments, or even go on a vacation, then that’s a good thing. 

In the end, going to a concert is optional – ticket brokers do not interfere with people’s ability to provide food and shelter.  This is discretionary income.  Really, the ticket resale profession has added to the ticket revenue income stream and, perhaps, redistributed tickets – or really the best tickets – to those with greater ability to pay.  And I’m OK with that.