We at Ticketmaster have worked closely with Rep. Joe Atkins the past two years, as he has sought to protect Minnesotans' fair access to tickets put up for sale by concert promoters and other event providers.
When he introduced anti-bots legislation in 2008, and then in 2009 proposed a measure outlawing the diversion of tickets to resale markets, we wholeheartedly supported his efforts and were pleased when they became law.
We were therefore extremely surprised and disappointed to read Rep. Atkins' recent commentary, ("Ticket scammers adapt to the law, so the law adapts right back," Nov. 24) containing some inaccurate statements and misinformation regarding how Ticketmaster has conducted its business in recent years.
First and foremost, as communicated to Atkins (including in my own testimony on his 2009 legislation), each and every Bruce Springsteen ticket -- as well as those of Taylor Swift, U2 and any other performer -- has been made available for sale by Ticketmaster in strict conformance with the instructions of our clients.
In particular, we do not:
Own the tickets being made available for sale.
"Hold back" any tickets entrusted to us by our clients.
Provide preferential access to brokers or others accessing our Web site.
"Divert" tickets to any ticket brokers or resale Web sites (including TicketsNow).
To the contrary, we invest considerable resources to thwart those unscrupulous individuals who use automated technology to unfairly and illegally access tickets. We have pursued them in the courts, and are in constant contact with law enforcement officials to ferret out these wrongdoers and help bring them to justice.
When popular events are placed for sale on our system, consumer demand overwhelms ticket supply and our inventory of tickets can be depleted within minutess (our systems can process and sell thousands of ticket orders within that time).
This challenge is exacerbated when our clients hold back significant amounts of tickets that are not initially (or ever) made available for us to distribute, or when they dictate that the vast majority of tickets be made available via fan club or promotional presales.
Again, we do not decide how many tickets will be made available for any event or for a particular presale or general sale; event providers are specifically and solely responsible for deciding the number of tickets provided to Ticketmaster to sell.
When you further consider that an individual ticket request can be as large as six or eight tickets per order -- a limit determined by the event provider and not by Ticketmaster -- it becomes clear why we are unable to satisfy more than a fraction of those fans interested in buying tickets for the most popular events. And that's true even as we make tickets available for sale in strict accordance with our clients' instructions.
We continue to work with promoters and performers to improve the ticketing process. It is therefore with great pride that we have been providing 100 percent paperless ticketing -- where a fan's credit card serves as the ticket -- for Miley Cyrus' North American tour (including her recent visit to the Twin Cities), as well as for portions of the recently concluded Bruce Springsteen tour and John Mayer's upcoming tour.
Paperless ticketing enables performers and promoters to connect directly with fans and bypass middlemen brokers. Some 500,000 patrons have been able to see their favorite artists this year by means of Ticketmaster's paperless initiative. And we hope that paperless ticketing will be increasingly employed by our clients to improve fans' access to tickets at face price.
Ticketmaster can be an easy political target, and we make our share of mistakes. But thoughtful and effective public policy cannot be predicated on misunderstandings or misinformation.
We look forward to continuing to work with Rep. Atkins, Sen. Ron Latz and others in the state Legislature to protect Minnesotans' fair access to tickets and improve understanding of the live entertainment industry.
Joe Freeman is senior vice president and assistant general counsel at Ticketmaster. He leads Ticketmaster's North American government relations program.