NIN Vs. Scalpers

Nine Inch Nails is attempting to stamp out ticket scalping on the band’s fall U.S. tour by offering some tickets that are only available day-of-show as well as an online auction.

An online NIN fan club has been set up expressly to sell 1,000 tickets per show – 500 reserved seating and 500 for the general admission floor. Fans receive their commemorative tickets (with their names printed on the ducats) 30 minutes before doors open, and will be escorted immediately into the venue.

The result should be a reduction in resales, band manager Jim Guerinot told Pollstar.

“As we were getting around to discussing the fan club, we were doing a small theatre tour and we saw the tickets being sold online for, you know, 1,500 percent of their face value. It was very frustrating,” Guerinot said.

“Theoretically, the only time you have a resale market is if you have time to resell the ticket. If you don’t have any time before the show begins, you don’t have a resale market.”

A recent Bruce Springsteen benefit concert at Asbury Park, N.J.’s Harry’s Roadhouse was similarly inspired after $100 tickets showed up on eBay for $750 to $2,000 a pair. The venue then decided to only allow tickets to be picked up the night of show and patrons were immediately escorted inside.

“We thought, ‘Why don’t we do that on a larger scale in the arenas?” Guerinot said. “It (1,000) was an arbitrary number we thought we could manage at the door. We’ve all been to 1,000-seat clubs. It seems like you can accommodate [patrons] with three to four people at the door, and accommodate them without it being a logistical nightmare.”

Some markets have sold out of the 1,000 tickets while others have not, and NIN will probably increase or decrease the offer accordingly, Guerinot said. The band did not want more than 50 percent of the floor to be sold online so that fans who did not know of the offer or could not participate would still have an opportunity to purchase the GA tix during the onsale.

Phase two of NIN’s effort is an online Ticketmaster auction.

“This is the most troubling thing: We realized there’s still going to be a secondary market vis-a-vis online auctions,” the manager said. “We go to this trouble and, at the end of it, we still look up and there’s 670 auctions. So we created a competing auction.”

One thousand more tickets are offered on the auctions, and the profit goes to the Innocence Project – the legal clinic co-created by attorney Barry Scheck to help reverse false convictions by introducing DNA evidence.

“If nothing else, if you have two choices to do your auction do it here,” Guerinot said. “It’s sanctioned by the band, we’ve driven the price down and the proceeds go to a worthy cause.”

– Joe Reinartz