The Economics of the 12/12/12 Sandy Benefit Concert

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

logo for the 121212 sandy benefit concert at madison square garden

Tonight's 12/12/12 Sandy benefit at Madison Square Garden is being called the biggest music event ever. Christopher John Farley of the Wall Street Journal's Speakeasy blog discusses the star-studded lineup. Plus, Bill Werde, Billboard Editorial Director, discusses the economics of a large benefit concert, and the effect of scalping.

Comments [29]

Bev from Tampa

I would never buy a ticket from Stubhub or any of the online resellers. These predators use software that allows them buy all of the tickets within seconds and then they have the nerve to use the term "supply and demand" which is total b.s. What choice do people have if they want to go to a concert?? These dirtbags know how to work the ticket system and they do it every time a concert is announced. There should be a limit for each purchaser or not available for purchase online at all. I would be fine standing in line if I knew I could get a ticket at a fair price.

Dec. 13 2012 08:05 AM
Live Observer from nyc

...On second thought with climate change and hurricanes hitting the coast every 18 mo. or's going to be so lucrative to be a musician / an event organizer / venue owner...
These guys will be throwing relief concerts in the coming years, it won't seem so unique. It might even bring the price of the throwing these things a little more down to earth, and closer to the common wo/man in New York/East Coast.
May I suggest that in 18 months they chose Barclays Center and this time Jay Z can headline.
BTW: With the exception of The Boss, most boring line up of artists in recent memory. The crowd is probably clueless as to who Alicia Keys is.

Dec. 12 2012 08:05 PM

I don't buy the notion that the producers of tonight's concert decided to feature "legacy" acts just because they have a lot of well-heeled fans who can afford to spend $$$ on a ticket. Most of the younger music superstars like Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift lack the gravitas required for such an event, and I am confident that nobody will be listening to them 25 years from now.

Dec. 12 2012 02:29 PM
jay from nyc

what a line up of baby-boomer-has-been-not-relevant-washouts. BORING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Doubt the people who actually need help get dollar one from this boondoggle.

Dec. 12 2012 12:16 PM

It seems to me that "money" that demands entertainment in order to be available to relieve human suffering is the problem. Are you all paying for a sound system to drown out the cries of the real victims? Let's have a concert to provide relief for the victims of "Super Scalpers". Maybe Senator Schumer can demagog a congressional fund for this purpose? Maybe we should have a fully funded, ongoing Federal Program, established under the "Affordable Concert Ticket Act" (ObamaTicket?

Dec. 12 2012 11:55 AM

How is this line up any different from the Sept 11 Concert for Heroes, also at MSG? I guess Kanye West & Alicia Keys weren't involved in that one, but different young artists of a decade ago were. The Who had the performance of the night back then - I wonder who it will be this time.

Dec. 12 2012 11:45 AM
keith from NYC

Is the process of going online to ticketmaster truly fair? Do professional scalpers have an inside track or advantage to getting tickets? If there is such a system that allows for this, at very least in this situation, the advantage should have been given to the local community organizations impacted by Sandy to allow them re-sell the tickets to auction off or raise funds for their own causes (instead of individual profiteers), or even distribute tickets to their local communities of volunteers and those individuals most impacted by Sandy for whom this event would have great meaning. It appears that the scalpers made the lion share of the profits generated by ticket sales for this event given the prices I saw on stubhub.

Dec. 12 2012 11:18 AM

This is precisely why many have ceased "donating" and purchasing concer tickets, even for worthy causes such as this one. Many wish to support the cause or view the performer, ot subsidize layers of indirect profiteering by people who simply make it harder for working people to afford an opportunity. I though Bruce Springsteen was correcting some ticket inequities in sales awhile back but any performer who goes along with
$25,000 tickets perhaps should check an online dictionary for the term "conscience".
Wait- maybe it is woth it ... after all, isn't Clapton still God?

Dec. 12 2012 11:03 AM

If scalping is illegal, only criminals will resell tickets.

Dec. 12 2012 10:56 AM

Scalpers also serve the ticket sellers as futures speculators.
They buy tickets that might otherwise go unsold and transfer cash earlier to the sellers.
Not every event is sold out. Scalpers can reduce prices as unsold tickets near the event date.
Theoretically, event organizers could play such market price games, but they are busy organizing.
The smaller, more numerous scalpers are more likely to stumble on successful market pricing strategies.
I suspect that at least some of the scalpers lose some of the time. Those losses are the organizers' gains.
All that scalper-banning regulation can do, is to increase the cost of the transactions, and decrease distribution efficiency, which does not benefit fans.
It sounds like NY's regulations have also sent the reselling industry to NJ.
Other NY regulations have sent many other industries to other states. Eg. NY franchise laws.

Dec. 12 2012 10:49 AM

Hey, Brian, you had better plan on TiVo'ing the concert because you are reading the part of 'Gentleman' in tonight's reading of A Christmas Carol!

Dec. 12 2012 10:48 AM

It's quite telling about the state of music these days that the website for the concert has links to twitter, facebook, tumblr, instagram, foursquare, a shop for clothing, etc, but not a page that lists the line up. The only mention of who is actually playing is on a graphic that wizzes by on the page.

Dec. 12 2012 10:42 AM
Mia from Manhattan

I've been a fan of U2 since back when they were playing really small venues in NYC, but what slays me about them in recent years (especially knowing how filthy rich they are) is that to even have a fighting chance at getting tickets to any of their shows now, the only way to do it is to pay $50 to join their fan club, and buy the tickets on a "pre-sale" when they're made available to fan club members. Otherwise, the shows are sold out.

Dec. 12 2012 10:31 AM
Bonnie from New Jersey

you mentioned other disasters that might warrant fund raising efforts, how about raising funds for those who were already homeless in the area, or having concerts to pay for more affordable housing for anyone?

Dec. 12 2012 10:31 AM
RJ from prospect hts

I know a wonderful professional sitar player if a true one is desired for tonight.

Dec. 12 2012 10:29 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Wow, I couldn't be more underwhlemed by the line up.

Dec. 12 2012 10:28 AM
Allison from UWS

Scalping happens even with movie tickets. I tried to see Silver Linings Playbook for weeks, but the movie kept selling out before I got a chance to buy a ticket. Then this weekend, I bought a ticket a few hours before the show, online. At the theater, a guy tried to sell me a ticket when I was waiting for my seat, and the show did not sell out. There were plenty of seats. Maybe all the other times it really was just full, but when I saw those empty seats I was skeptical.

Dec. 12 2012 10:27 AM
Voice of Reason from nyc

yet another exmaple how the wealthy are the only ones who truly get to enjoy this city and the rest of us have to make do with paltry "Reason to Love New York" by New York Magazine (where the number 1 reason was Barcleys Center - NO thank you!).

No Reasons to Love NY is you can't afford a $25,000 MSG ticket!

Dec. 12 2012 10:26 AM

I don't like scalping either, but playing devil's advocate here, who if not a superfan is going to pay exorbitant scalping prices?

Dec. 12 2012 10:26 AM
RJ from prospect hts

There was also a story recently in the NYTimes about other, small Midatlantic communities in which a fellow said "No one's doing concerts for us." It'd be nice to think of them too.

Dec. 12 2012 10:22 AM
foodaggro from Brooklyn

If people are willing to shell out enormous amounts of cash for a concert ticket, there is a demand, and the scalpers are at the ready.

Dec. 12 2012 10:21 AM
khadija from Brooklyn

Wish I could afford a ticket for my child. Standing in the background, kinda. We will all wait for show to be on U-Tube. Love to the Tri-States (often, Conn. is ignored). ; }}} kay

Dec. 12 2012 10:21 AM
Fred from Bloomfield NJ

Who was able to buy the tickets? Everyone I know that tried to get on to the web site was locked out (Wait, wait, wait). Did only insiders get a chance to buy the tickets online? Looks like it.

Dec. 12 2012 10:18 AM

Scalping is buy a ticket you own it and can do whatever you want with it.

Dec. 12 2012 10:15 AM
bernie from bklyn

stub hub is just legalized ticket scalping- no different from the guy n the corner except the right people are getting a cut. is ticketmaster involved and are those slimebags donating anything?

Dec. 12 2012 10:13 AM

Christie and Cuomo are seeking something like $60 billion combined for New Jersey and New York. This concert, with (according to the guest) and audience of 2 billion is expected to raise $50 million? One one-thousandth as much? Two and a half _cents_ per viewer. Given the performer line-up, maybe we should be keeping an eye our for Elvis.

Dec. 12 2012 10:13 AM
bernie from bklyn

sorry, but eric clapton is not a guitar master...and certainly not a sitar master

Dec. 12 2012 10:11 AM

Are the Platters coming?

Dec. 12 2012 10:09 AM
Jay F.

Really? Bigger than Live AIDS? Gimme a break.

Dec. 12 2012 10:09 AM

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