Pop star Maggie Rogers isn’t going to let bots spoil her upcoming tour. The “Alaska” singer told fans in an email today that she’s getting a jump on automated scalpers by selling tickets the old-fashioned way: in-person sales.
Rogers says fans can physically walk up to box offices on Friday to get first dibs on pre-sale tickets for her US summer tour, running from July to August. “On Friday, for one day only, we’re running an in-person pre-sales, where you can go directly to your local box office to buy a ticket,” wrote the artist, who rose to fame after a video of Pharrell Williams reacting to her “Alaska” demo went viral in 2016. “There’s a two-ticket-per-person limit, but you can choose any ticket you want — all of the prices and tiers will be available, along with exclusive merch and a special playlist I cooked up just for box office day.”
Rogers says the in-person process will vary from city to city, and she advises fans to check her website for specifics. For fans in the NYC area, she adds that she will visit the Music Hall of Williamsburg box office in Brooklyn on Friday, greeting fans buying tickets for her Forest Hills show scheduled for July 27th.
If you can't make it to the box office on Friday, Rogers says her website will open registrations for traditional artist pre-sales on April 11th. In addition, Spotify will have its own pre-sales on April 12th with local promoters joining on the 12th and 13th. General availability opens on April 14th.
Ticketmaster has been in hot water lately over its inability to prevent bots from scooping up pre-sale tickets and reselling them for egregiously inflated prices. After 1.5 million presale codes went out to Taylor Swift fans in November, 14 million buyers (including “a staggering” amount of bots) tried to purchase tickets. The company said it was hit with 3.5 billion system requests, leading to the site crashing and fans left without access.
That caught the attention of the US Congress, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who called for the breakup of Ticketmaster. Joe Berchtold, President and CFO of Ticketmaster’s parent company Live Nation, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in January, acknowledging the problem but punting a resolution to (the largely dysfunctional) Congress. Despite a reported DOJ investigation, Senate hearings and the usual political showboating, the government hasn’t yet produced any reforms.
A similar fiasco unfolded in December when thousands of Bad Bunny fans heading to see the reggaeton star in Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca were denied entry at the door, with staff telling them their Ticketmaster-purchased tickets were fake. That incident led to Mexican antitrust scrutiny, but Ticketmaster avoided paying announced fines after it refunded buyers who were denied entry and provided additional compensation.
Although Rogers deserves credit for an analog solution to a modern-day problem, the story says more about our high-tech, modern-day ticket-purchasing catastrophe as it does the artist’s crafty workaround.