Phil Carter has pointed out recently that the reason the public doesn’t like the Patriot Act and resists new administration requests for legislation giving it additional power to “fight terrorism” is that people don’t really trust it on the civil rights front any more. Regardless of the invasiveness of the proposed legislation or the benefits it might provide, people generally oppose it because the administration has squandered all is credibility on the civil rights front. I think we’re seeing something similar with Ticketmaster’s new plan to sell some event tickets via auction. Everybody hates Ticketmaster, so anything that Ticketmaster does must therefore be bad, right?

Contrary to the widely held view, I think that their idea for auctioning concert tickets is a darn good one. The only people who seem to be able to accurately price concert tickets are scalpers. Concert tickets go on sale for a certain price, a large number of them are snapped up by scalpers, and are then sold to the public at a price often several times face value. If people are willing to pay $250 for a concert, why should the people putting on the concert get $50 bucks and some guy who’s willing to flood the phones or pay homeless people to wait in line get the other $200? I’m not in love with the idea of Ticketmaster raking in more cash, but it sure beats supporting a cottage industry of ticket hoarding scumbags that add no value to the system and yet scrape large profits out of it.

In fact, as a long term trend, if artists are able to make more money from people willing to pay huge amounts to sit close to the stage, maybe that could subsidize the concerts to a certain degree for the people who have worse seats by reducing the rate at which their ticket prices go up. The article proposes that all seats be sold in an auction format rather than just the good seats. I imagine that might happen if the auction for the good seats works out well.