Tickets for the Hannah Montana shows are selling out in minutes – and moms across the country are shouting "conspiracy" and pointing fingers at Ticketmaster, AEG – heck, anyone.
It’s so bad that the Kansas City council and Mayor Mark Funkhouser asked a representative for Ticketmaster to come to a meeting and explain why a Hannah Montana show at the new Sprint Center sold out as soon as it went on sale.
But maybe there are no men in black working behind the scenes to rob kids of their chances to see Miley Cyrus. Every insider Pollstar talked to said the answer is simple: This tour has unprecedented demand – the likes of which haven’t been seen in this business since New Kids On The Block.
"This one’s out of the stratosphere," Debra Rathwell, Sr. VP of AEG Live, told Pollstar. "We expected them to sell out quickly but this sets new light and sound records."
So where are all of these tickets going? Parents like Loni Wilhelms, who failed her mission to get tickets for the show – which she dubbed "Operation Hannah Montana," wants to know.
Wilhelms phoned Ticketmaster as soon as tickets went on sale for the Nashville show while her husband and a friend’s husband logged on to two separate laptops and another friend stood first in line at a Ticketmaster counter at a local supermarket. They were all told that the November 23rd show at the 20,000-capacity Sommet Center was sold out, according to the Commercial Appeal.
Rathwell, who confirmed that every gig on the 54-date nationwide tour sold out within minutes, assured fans that it wasn’t a scandal, as some parents and some in the media have dubbed it. It just came down to high demand and not enough tickets to go around.
"I’ve done so many interviews, trying to explain to people that it isn’t a conspiracy," Rathwell said. "There’s just a really high demand and you can’t possibly meet it. And you know, as someone said, she has 4 million fans that watch her TV show – which means they’re too young and need someone to go with them so that would be about 8 million people and they all want to go see Hannah Montana."
Rathwell said that about half of the tickets go to the fan club Web site and the other half go on sale to the public.
"We’ve tried to hold tickets at the box office and help out the best we can but it’s very difficult to make it fair when a thing sells that quickly," Rathwell said.
Miley’s manager, Jason Morey of Morey Management Group, told Pollstar that another aspect to the Hannah Montana phenomenon and parents crying "scandal" is a new generation of concertgoer that hasn’t had to deal much with ticket brokers.
"A typical Van Halen concertgoer knows the system. They’ve been to four or five Van Halen shows and they know how crazy the business is. They know that they have to wait in line, they know there’s not a guarantee that they can get a ticket and at the end of the day if they get turned away they say, ‘Hey, listen, I chose either not to pay for a secondhand ticket or I just wasn’t fast enough,’" Morey said.
"With these parents, that’s not good enough. They’re like, ‘We support the show, we sit at home and watch it every single night. I want to take my kids – how do I go home and tell my kids either I couldn’t get them a ticket or we can’t afford it?’ It’s really, really difficult to put these parents in that position. I think as an industry we have to focus on how to deal with the secondhand ticket market because it’s clearly out of control."
The Miami Herald noted that tickets that originally cost between $26 and $66 are available on secondary ticket sites for between $65 to $3,700 – you can even get a luxury suite for 20 for $15,860 at Gotickets.com.
Chip McLean, Sr. VP of Buena Vista Concerts for Disney Music Group, told Pollstar, " The demand has been so incredible and the involvement of the ticket brokers so pronounced that we’re working internally to both come up with improved systems for rolling out tickets going forward and a proper response to address all of the issues."