By selling tickets directly and putting restrictions on them Louis C.K. drops scalping by 96%. This guy is on the very edge, just like VHX is making video sales and distribution available to everyone someone will do the same with this ticketing platform. It’s impressive what a creative mind paired with just a bit of technology can do.

9 thoughts on “Louis C.K. Beats Back Scalpers

  1. I am enjoying Louis C.K.’s innovations but, if you think about it, placing restrictions on the resale of tickets is a form of real-world DRM. No-one likes scalpers, and the ability of recoup your cash if you simply can’t attend is still possible, but I’m not convinced that placing restrictions on non-fraudulent trade is ever a good thing.

    What if I innnocently buy a ticket to see a performer for whom there is not much demand but, then, he breaks through with a chart hit and, suddenly, people are willing to pay hundreds to get their hands on my ticket? Why shouldn’t I be allowed to sell it to someone who values it more than I? We both gain from that exchange, the world is a slightly better place.

    One ticketing innovation I would like to see emerge would be a gradually increasing price: buy on the first day of sale for $40 but the price increases by a dollar per day after that. That would incentivize customers to buy early, making the planning and financial gymnastics easier for event organizers, and getting a clear indication of overall demand that early might allow for a second concert to be arranged – again, a clear win for everyone.

    1. It is a form of real-world DRM. Your critique is sound, however, doesn’t really apply to how ticket sales generally work. Scalpers buy a large percentage of tickets and monopolies like Ticketmaster, add a ton of fees, both hurting the audience and the artist.

      Your argument would be valid if scalpers didn’t buy such a large percentage of tickets. Louis CK’s strategy is a solution to a known problem and unlike DRM, does not hurt the people who have paid for their pass.

      Lastly, events already have a increasing price strategy. Events like HARD Summer, and many others increase the price of their tickets as time goes by.

    2. I see it as Mr. C.K. is wanting to control the value of his show so that everyone that wants to go can go. You are buying an opportunity so see him live, you don’t own anything. Just like you can’t resell MP3s or re-rent videos out. I definitely see it as a positive thing for the art. This way, the artist and only the artist benefits from ticket sales.

    3. Increasing price strategy only adds to the viability of scalping.

      If the price from the genuine promoter is comparable to the scalper’s price, then availability becomes the key decision factor.

      As scalpers are often ‘first-in’, they will buy up more tickets, safe in the knowledge that the more quickly an event sells out, the quicker they will have effectively increased the price artificially – and have subsequently monopolised the available ticket supply.

      The only winner is the scalper.

    4. Maybe artists could just choose whether or not they want to allow aftermarket sales of their tickets, even on an event-to-event basis. After all, it seems like an artist should be able to decide that he/she doesn’t want anyone to have to pay 10x the original price to see their show, period.

      That’s an interesting idea, to offer a ‘buy early and save’ model.

  2. I’m skeptical of the idea that it took a creative mind to do this. The solutions for a lot of the problems industries face are usually out there, they just aren’t implemented for whatever reason. Usually a monopoly or a group of companies that hold legislative power, whatever.

    Something I’ve thought a lot about (and I believe you’ve posted about as well) is the financial sector. Why isn’t there a bank that doesn’t suck, why is PayPal basically the only option sometimes? Right now there are startups that are innovating, but it’s difficult and complicated for a myriad of reasons.

    Both with the ticket thing and the standup special, Louis C.K. has only one product: himself. The great thing about standup is that that’s literally all you need. That makes it incredibly easy to make decisions like that, ones that a bunch of other people in the past have probably wanted to make.

    I guess my point is is that this stuff is obvious to most people, but the ones with something to lose rarely are interested in making these decisions. Kudos to him for shaking things up.

  3. My g/f just showed me this guy, we’ve been watching him for a little while now. The dude is fn hilarious!