Explore Issue 01 of LOOP Magazine

Featuring Sam Tompkins and Victor Ray as our cover stars, as well as internal spreads from Girli, Jords, Mysie, Finn Askew, Kara Marni and Master Peace

Buy Now

Are You ‘Finna Be in the Pit’?

Now that we’re living in a post-Taylor Swift presale society, the world of concert ticketing has shown a massive shift. Shows where fan-artist bonding occurred are now being replaced with empty seats due to ticket scalpers.  Gone are the days of simply jumping to the box office before a show, this exclusive consumer grab shares similarities to one of a sneaker drop: one that shuts out the working class and ends by not being in the hands of the people they were intended for.

The purpose of gigs is so simple yet so complex. For some, they’re a form of entertainment in the evening, a live show to take up two hours of their time. But for others, concerts provide a form of intimacy, an open space for all connected by a single artist.

One of the highlights for many people is being able to hold a physical ticket. The tangibleness of physical tickets holds more value to concert-goers than the QR codes that arrive at your email after purchase. They provide physical proof that screams yes, you were there, and you had an amazing time. However, many people have compared their ticket-buying experiences over the last ten years to now, and noticeable shifts have curated our current problems.

As of September 2022 in the UK, the Consumer Price Inflation rate (also known as the Cost of Living rate) rose by 10% from last year’s figures. People are finding it increasingly difficult to afford necessities amid this cost of living crisis and have found themselves unable to purchase items outside of their bills and weekly shopping. TikTok user @lyndonmilli even jokes about this as he visits Tate Modern’s latest exhibition, which holds a framed Co-Op receipt from 2019, listing a vast list of items but only costing £48 (albeit the items held a separate meaning as to why they were included in the exhibition). 

The act of going to a concert has reached a premium status, but being able to budget and prioritise separate costs has become a factor that people now have to consider. When discussing hip-hop concerts in Scotland, a friend of mine came to a realisation and then stated:

“The people who this artist’s (Kendrick Lamar) music is targeted towards can’t afford to go to this show. They have university or school; they’re working shifts they can’t afford to miss in exchange for his show”.

And thus, this sad reality is brought to the surface: a generation of people cannot afford live shows of the artists who speak to them the most.  

For many subcultures within the music industry, concerts have remained accessible except for slight price increases due to national inflation rates. However, the chance of seeing more prominent artists has become narrower with the rise of social media platforms like TikTok during the pandemic. 

At the height of Covid-19, people were in their homes and sought their newest interests through the internet, where everyone seemed to have settled. Throughout the pandemic, many people discovered new artists that they loved but were restricted to their online echo chambers, where other fans would share their favourite artist’s best moments on stage via social media–prompting people to yearn for in-person shows again.

When venues were given the green light to open back up in the second half of 2021, this shift in ticketing culture became more apparent. With an influx of new fans, ticket-selling organisations such as Ticketmaster, AXS, and Live Nation were given a stronger responsibility of ensuring fans were getting these tickets and that they were not falling into the hands of scalpers. To specify, scalpers enable bot attacks that occur when they use software applications to perform tasks, e.g. purchase tickets or speed through search systems to buy tickets faster than a regular person.

For fans, they’re buying a once-in-a-lifetime experience. For scalpers, they’re buying to earn a profit; double, if not triple, the original amount they spent. The demand for limited tickets was shown most recently by Taylor Swift’s ‘Eras’ tour presale. Many had used and shared strategies via Google Docs to secure tickets, while fan pages wished them luck. Unfortunately, fans who received the presale link via the “Verified Fans” system– which is supposed only to allow fans, not bots, an earlier ticketing experience before the general public– found that they could not gain access to the ticket page. Hundreds of thousands of people who waited hours in the queue left the site empty-handed; they were not finna be in the pit. 

This type of hype and uncertainty within the human consumption world is mirrored within the sneakerhead community. Reselling for profit is an attribute most people would associate with limited sneaker drops, which occur throughout the year by significant businesses and designers. The limited drops, time-period raffles, and camping outside stores are to receive the same end goal. BLACKPINK fans in the Philippines attempted to secure tickets via the ticketing site and by queuing for over 24 hours outside the venue’s box office. 

Those who succeed in both sectors feel proud that they were lucky enough to secure the shoe or the ticket, and others can only look on from their screens. Only elites are allowed into those creative spaces. Sneaker culture originated from the streets; for the streets. Gigs were created for fans to hear their favourite songs in a live setting for pure enjoyment. With the increased use of bots by scalpers, fans cannot secure what is meant for them, making this an issue that must be tackled.

Reselling culture is on the rise and is plaguing numerous communities; if big ticketing companies cannot come up with strategies to block scalpers out, this epidemic will only get worse.

Words by Nicole Ndlovu

Posted On 5 December, 2022