How much would you pay to see your favourite band or comedian in concert?
The days of queuing overnight for precious tickets have been replaced by the creation of loathsome secondary ticket sites which are nothing more than legalised touting.
Last year, Billy Connolly was on tour.
His shows sold out in record time, but as I flicked through Ticketmaster, I came across seats at the Caird Hall in Dundee.
I was delighted if slightly taken aback at the prices - four seats were coming in at around £350, and I wondered why the Big Yin was asking such a price. He wasn’t.
I’d been transferred from Ticketmaster to its other company called Get Me In, one of the many secondary sales outlets where, basically, the price is hiked until your bank account squeals.
I use Ticketmaster regularly and was still taken in by the seamless transfer to GMI.
I complained, and got a bland piece of PR in return.
This week saw Jeff Lynne’s ELO tour announced, and Ritchie Blackmore unveil a one-off reunion of Rainbow - two bands which were a huge part of my teenage years.
Both sold out, so, what prices were the Get Me In chancers setting for the Blackmore gig in Liverpool I picked at random?
Face value was circa £60 which is standard.
How about £130? Not bad, but wait! Let’s hike that price up to £220. Ah, that’s better! How do you wish to pay sir?
Credit card? An arm and leg? They take either ...
I’m picking on Get Me In because I loathe what they stand for, but, for the record, other equally horrible touts are legally available. Avoid them all.
I refuse to do business with any of them no matter how badly I want to see a gig.
I’d rather chance it by turning up and doing a cash-in-hand deal with a bloke called Dave with a dodgy ponytail who happens to be hanging around the SECC trying to offload a few spares.
Time it right and he’ll sell at face value, and, even factoring in time, food and petrol it’ll still be cheaper than GMI. And just as ethical.
And there are no ‘‘booking fees’’- another cynical, utterly indefensible ploy to milk more cash out of concert goers.
Get Me In’s introductory message online is also made me laugh.
‘‘Relax,’’ it purrs, ‘‘ you can still see the show.’’
It promises you can get your hands on tickets ‘‘guaranteed by Ticketmaster for sold out events.’’
So, basically, Ticketmaster gets an allocation, takes a chunk of it and fires it along the corridor to GMI where the touts , sorry, customer service advisers - deary me, must remember their proper corporate titles - who have fun guessing how much they can get away with charging us mugs.
It may be the law of supply and demand and it may be legal, but the whole secondary ticket sale market just reeks, and it has to be tackled by Parliament.
It’s one thing for a fan to offer a ticket for sale - GMI, among many others, offers that facility - but another entirely when it is a blatant commercial rip off.
It’s time concert goers got organised and fought back.