Really? You’re going to make software illegal?

Online ‘bots’ which buy vast numbers of concert tickets as soon as they go on sale should be made illegal, MPs have been told.

So-called botnets – software that automatically buys in bulk before humans get chance – push up the price of tickets for genuine fans who are forced to buy from touts with a mark-up.

Annabella Coldrick, of the Music Managers Forum, told MPs on the Culture, Media and Sport select committee that the use of bots amounted to “industrial-scale market abuse.”

Twat.

48 thoughts on “Really? You’re going to make software illegal?”

  1. Typical knee jerk political reaction to a complaint, not saying it isn’t an issue, but I guess when your job is to pass laws every problem is solved by making it illegal.
    Maybe they could stop the ticket sites selling to themselves or retaining tickets to sell on their own aftermarket sites if they want to deal with people gaming the system

  2. Its not an ‘issue’. Its the expected outcome when the ticket sellers sell their wares at too low of a price.

    All that needs to be done is the ticket sellers raise their prices to something near what the scalpers are selling them for (doesn’t have to be the same – scalpers have expenses so you can undercut by that much) and blammo! The scalpers disappear because there’s no money to be made scalping tickets.

  3. That’s assuming everyone will pay that higher price, only some will, can work both ways a friend went to a few NHL games last year because the local team sucked and the scalpers were having to sell at below face value

  4. If scalpers were selling below face value then they screwed up (and are losing money – selling below face value means they’re trying to get *something* back and minimize their loss) and *the consumer is benefiting*. So, no issue there either.

    Scalpers as an institution are risk mitigators for ticket sellers. Similar to selling on debt. Once the ticket is sold you are no longer at risk of losing money – that’s on the scalper.

    So, no issue here either.

  5. Bloke in North Dorset

    Too quick to post:

    “Although Kid Rock is now offering an affordable summer concert option with his $20 Best Night Ever Tour, he recently admitted to participating in scalping his own tickets in order to make a bigger profit.”

  6. “So-called botnets … push up the price of tickets for genuine fans who are forced to buy from touts with a mark-up.”

    No they don’t. The re-sellers are creating a market where fans compete for the limited supply of tickets. The value the fans put on the tickets is what creates the price.

    AD WARNING!
    And we have a simple marketing tool would enable the promoters to capture this value themselves. http://www.gotradelive.com Enables anyone to quickly & simply set up an auction for themselves. And we’re so philanthropic, we don’t even charge you to use it!

  7. BniC,

    But, really, there are some decisions that are just crazy.

    Everyone knows that there’s a server meltdown when Kraftwerk play anywhere. They charge £60 a ticket when people would pay £100.

    I can’t understand why this isn’t all done via Dutch auction. It’s hard to know the correct price for Kate Bush when she hasn’t played live since the 1970s (although whoever thought £45 sounded right when there were only 25,000 tickets has to be a twat). Start the tickets at £200, and let the price fall. You’ll sell them all in no time and get the optimum price. The scalpers won’t make money.

    And what’s the industry complaint? They wanted to sell 10,000 seats at £50/pop, they got that. I do work for people who basically resell my work. They might add a little value to their client, but it’s often not much. And I know that some double the price. But I don’t care. All I care about is what I sell to my guy for.

    Personally most live gigs aren’t worth the money. £90 to see Kraftwerk? I nearly bought those and then thought, hang on, it’s Ralph and 3 blokes who joined in the 90s, playing keyboards.

  8. Can’t ticket selling sites simply use captchas, doesn’t that stop the kind of bot / software we are talking about above?

  9. Maybe the promoters don’t actually want to maximise income, would rather have genuine fans there than people bringing their own caviar?

    Since it’s impossible/illegal to do this with discounted airline tickets there must be a means of enforcing first sale only with concert tickets too, and that is a usual condition of sale – first buyer turns up, management reserve the right to refuse admittance to anyone else.

    Unless all the self-proclaimed liberals and libertarians here don’t believe that freedom of contract extends to the right to agree on no resale and would have the State interfere in freedom of contract to ban no-resale clauses 😉

  10. Are you advocating discrimination against the caviar scoffing community there, BiG? Acipenseridaephobia?

  11. Unless all the self-proclaimed liberals and libertarians here don’t believe that freedom of contract extends to the right to agree on no resale and would have the State interfere in freedom of contract to ban no-resale clauses

    Sorry, I must have missed the part where the promoters said they were taking the resellers to court over multiple breaches of contract.

  12. If the price is too high–don’t go.

    Let a few big cheese “megastar” pricks look out over a totally empty house and ticket pricing will undergo needed changes.

    As for the whole concert concept — unless you are some juvo, scummy psycho-billy creep who has to be there to smell the stench of your crew– then the age of the concert is drawing to a close. Almost upon us are camera/mics set ups that can see and hear everything that your own sensorium can– without you needing to be there in person. And do stuff such as millions of people all sharing the viewpoints from the best box/seats in the house, the ability to turn your head (by using a 360 degree camera array and shifting feeds seamlessly as your head turns). You could even shift seats around the venue for different views. Try that in the real world. Or shift to a drone or cable cam aerial view. Millions could attend the tele-attend the same concert thus dropping ticket prices permanently. Millions of tickets at a low price beating thousands at a high one.

  13. How many of the Kraftwerk robots are original, excepting the new faces? I love the idea that the band go for a nice cup of tea when that one is playing.

  14. Bands that really cared about their true fans would sell only to, or at large discounts to, long standing active fan club members

  15. BiG – “Maybe the promoters don’t actually want to maximise income, would rather have genuine fans there than people bringing their own caviar?”

    Dunno whether caviar precludes being a ‘genuine’ fan, but I think you’re onto something there. To the label and venue, a concert is partly marketing exercise, right? For the new album or the next gig, respectively.

    In which case it makes sense to fix the price at a level affordable to your main audience, which probably isn’t the caviar set.

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a stupid idea to try to fix by ‘banning bots’, whatever that means in the days of the Raspberry Pi.

  16. So Much For Subtlety

    BraveFart – “Bands that really cared about their true fans would sell only to, or at large discounts to, long standing active fan club members”

    They would only sell to their groupies but there are just only so many blow jobs an artist can take.

    If vendors are incapable of correct pricing I don’t see why it is such a big deal if someone else can.

  17. Stigler:

    I’ve suggested elsewhere selling the tickets on Ebay. I have a feeling prices would go well beyond list without scalping, and the anti-scalpers would have a shitfit about it.

  18. > Its not an ‘issue’. Its the expected outcome when the ticket sellers sell their wares at too low of a price.

    Bollocks. Bollocks, bollocks, bollocks.

    There is no “too low” of a price. As Tim is forever pointing out, the whole point of markets is that they are about cooperation. We may cooperate with whomever we wish however we wish. That necessarily includes musicians deciding to sell tickets at whatever damn price they like.

    Musicians have been told for the last decade or so that they need to give up this silly old Twencen idea of being paid for their recordings and move to a bright new world in which recordings are given away as mere advertising to sell branded merchandise. If that is the case, then obviously the musicians need to set their ticket price at a level at which (a) the sort of people who want to wear their T-shirts and buy their posters can afford to get in, and (b) those people have some spare money left over after buying the ticket. But, when musicians try to do this, the same people who lecture them that expecting to be paid well for music is delusional and they need to get used to giving stuff away start lecturing them that giving stuff away is silly and they need to charge more.

    There is also more to a gig than just the band on stage. The audience are a part of it. Part of what pisses musicians off about excessive touting is that they end up playing to a room full of people who aren’t even fans, who just fancied some music to accompany their drinking and loud chatting.

    Then there’s the whole thing about building a fanbase. A good gig creates customer loyalty. A lot of musicians hang around afterwards to meet the fans. Even if they don’t, the atmosphere, on-stage banter, etc, all contribute to future record and mechandising sales. Again, musicians have every right to choose to aim this marketing at an appropriate audience.

    Tim has written before about sometimes working for free for prospective clients. When he does, everyone here agrees and no-one says how appalling it is that he might of his own free will choose to sell his labour below the market rate.

    What bothers me about the whole thing is that Geldof sorted it for Live 8: the tickets may have been given away free, but they were also non-transferable. So the technical solution to this problem already exists. So bloody use it, then.

  19. Since it’s impossible/illegal to do this with discounted airline tickets

    Accept in Nigeria. If you take a flight on one of the domestic airlines between Lagos and Port Harcourt you receive a boarding pass with somebody else’s name on it. There is a giant scam in operation where all the tickets are bought up and sold on at a markup. God knows what happens if the plane goes down and people are trying to identify who is on board.

  20. To the label and venue, a concert is partly marketing exercise, right? For the new album or the next gig, respectively.

    Actually, I think you have that backwards. I read somewhere that these days the music is free and bands make money off concerts and merchandise.

    As for the whole concert concept — unless you are some juvo, scummy psycho-billy creep who has to be there to smell the stench of your crew– then the age of the concert is drawing to a close.

    Atmosphere my good man, atmosphere. Any sports fan knows watching a game on TV is a much better viewing experience. Yet stadia are packed out every weekend.

  21. I have something more than a passing familiarity with the current revenue model of the music industry. Tim N is quite right in saying that the major revenue source for the artist is from ticket sales at live events and merchandise. The cost of recording has plummeted and the ability for people to produce their own recordings and videos is also dropped dramatically. The key to success is building a fan base through social media, live events and other engagement such as http://www.pledgemusic.com. Revenue from downloads and streaming services etc. is a decreasing part of the revenue stream.

    So if the artist wants to maximise their revenue from their most profitable source, they should either:

    a) engage in a Dutch auction; or
    b) Sell at what they feel is below market (guarantees a specific return) and let scalpers take the risk that they can resell for more.

    As a teen growing up next to Detroit (one of the 5 must play cities in those days), I got quite used on a weekend to dealing with scalpers to see shows. My best coup was seeing Bruce Springsteen on a friday night and then heading back over to see him again on a Saturday. There was a young guy who had bought 8 tickets and was trying to scalp 4. He started by offering for double the face value, but there were no takers. We offered 1/2 of face value and he laughed at us. Soon the sounds of the concert starting could be heard and potential buyers quickly dried up. His girlfriend and the other couple were really pressuring him to sell because “We missing the show”. We knew that Springsteen plays for something like 3 hours, so were quite willing to miss a song or two (especially since we had 3 hours of him the day before).

    The guy got really desperate and begged us to take them at face value. My buddy Tom (who is a slum landlord today) said to him that now that the concert had started we would give him the price of one ticket for all four, or he could keep all the tickets and put them in a scrapbook. With his girlfriend pulling at his arm, the guy agreed.

    Of course, our seats were right next to his group so he spent the next three hours listening to Tom go on and on about how we paid so little for the seats.

  22. > Sell at what they feel is below market (guarantees a specific return) and let scalpers take the risk that they can resell for more.

    I suspect this is exactly why the industry has a long history of tolerating touting. What has changed is the Net: the automated nature of sales now means that the touts are selling most of the tickets rather than just some of them. If a musician finds that their actual fanbase can’t afford to come to their gig, they have a reasonable complaint.

    > So if the artist wants to maximise their revenue from their most profitable source

    You’re assuming here that the gig is an independent event. In fact, how profitable future gigs and merch and recordings are is influenced by the make-up of the audience at this gig.

    > Atmosphere my good man, atmosphere. Any sports fan knows watching a game on TV is a much better viewing experience. Yet stadia are packed out every weekend.

    Yes, but there’s more to it at a concert. There are physical differences between live and recorded music to do with speaker size, compression, etc. A good live band, with a good engineer, can sound amazing, and can create sounds that literally cannot be reproduced on headphones or home speakers. The flipside, of course, is good bands ruined by shite engineering, but hey.

    Leftfield got a lifetime ban from the Brixton Academy because their bass damaged the building’s structure. Maybe bass like that is your thing and maybe it isn’t, but you’re not going to get it at home.

    The DVD of Popmart is good — Bono reckons it’s their best work — but it doesn’t come close to what being there was like. It was, at the time, the largest TV screen ever constructed. It towered over us. Footage of the largest TV ever, viewed on even a fairly big TV in a living room, is not the same thing.

  23. Bloke in Germany
    November 16, 2016 at 9:34 am

    Unless all the self-proclaimed liberals and libertarians here don’t believe that freedom of contract extends to the right to agree on no resale and would have the State interfere in freedom of contract to ban no-resale clauses

    Except that they haven’t done a no-resale clause – they’ve simply gone straight to the government to ask for *special* protections – when, as you point out yourself, the tools to fix this ‘problem’ are already in their own hands.

  24. Squander Two
    November 16, 2016 at 11:29 am

    > Its not an ‘issue’. Its the expected outcome when the ticket sellers sell their wares at too low of a price.

    Bollocks. Bollocks, bollocks, bollocks.

    There is no “too low” of a price.

    There is when you want to prevent reselling.

  25. Part of what pisses musicians off about excessive touting is that they end up playing to a room full of people who aren’t even fans, who just fancied some music to accompany their drinking and loud chatting.

    I’m gonna call bullshit on this. If you’re not a fan then you aren’t paying scalper prices. You’re certainly not paying scalper prices to ignore the show.

    And low pricing does not help ‘true fans’. No one even knows who the true fans even are. Low pricing just leaves more people willing to compete for the tickets – which makes it harder for the ‘true fan’ to get a ticket whether or not he can afford it.

    And, finally, the only reason scalpers exist is that there’s a profit opportunity stuck in there between what the ticket sells for and what the punter is willing to pay. Raise the price and that profit opportunity goes away, you still sell as many tickets, the artist and venue make more money – and can now afford to let the mythical ‘true fan’ in pro bono if he so chooses.

    Making scalping illegal won’t make it go away anymore than making drugs or prostitution illegal have made that stuff go away. Indeed, as every attempt to prohibit things that the average person doesn’t see as wrong has shown, it will significantly increase the violence associated with ticket purchasing.

  26. I’m no lawyer but I’m pretty sure that the computer misuse act could already be used to prosecute use of a bot under unauthorized access provisions (at least assuming the website make it clear automated systems aren’t allowed and presumably they already have things like captcha’s indicating this anyway).Of course saying let’s make a new law is so much easier than actually using the ones they already have.

  27. @Agammamon

    I’m gonna call bullshit on this. If you’re not a fan then you aren’t paying scalper prices. You’re certainly not paying scalper prices to ignore the show.

    You may not be familiar with the ‘hot ticket’ show that you simply must be at, just to say you were there.

  28. You may not be familiar with the ‘hot ticket’ show that you simply must be at, just to say you were there.

    Though in the context of live music, I would think that’s more likely to be the stadium-filling megaband rather than the new act trying to make a couple of quid to pay the rent.

  29. > I’m gonna call bullshit on this. If you’re not a fan then you aren’t paying scalper prices. You’re certainly not paying scalper prices to ignore the show.

    And yet it happens. I’ve been to office Christmas parties where the company bought a load of tickets for a gig. A handful of people in the office actually like the band; the rest go to drink and chat; lots of them don’t like the band at all. Friend was at a Staves gig where the front of the crowd was so full of people nattering away at top lung that the gig was ruined and the band were visibly pissed off. Happens all the time.

    > And low pricing does not help ‘true fans’.

    Don’t know where you got this “true fans” thing from. What I was talking about was people who’ll buy merchandise. Teenagers and twenty-somethings are more likely to buy band T-shirts and put posters on their walls.

    > No one even knows who the true fans even are.

    These days, with social media, most bands could give you a pretty damn accurate list of their fans’ names and birthdays.

    That aside, why are you arguing with me about who the true fans are? Bands reckon they know, and want to ensure they can get to gigs. You want to dissuade them, sure, go argue with them. Meanwhile, I’ll support their right to work for whatever price they please and sell their tickets to whomever they want for however much they want — even if they’re mistaken — principles which, round these parts, are treated as sacrosanct whenever any topic but this one comes up.

    > the only reason scalpers exist is that there’s a profit opportunity stuck in there between what the ticket sells for and what the punter is willing to pay.

    The only reason burglary exists is that there’s a profit opportunity stuck in there between what the product sells for and what the punter is willing to pay. And?

    > Making scalping illegal …

    I included in my comment my belief that it doesn’t need to be banned, so not sure who you’re aiming this at.

  30. > I would think that’s more likely to be the stadium-filling megaband rather than the new act trying to make a couple of quid to pay the rent.

    The latter are almost certain to be playing to an audience of people who are there to see one of the other bands. They also don’t have a problem with touts.

  31. Gotta agree with with S2 on this one.

    Mind you, some bands do sell to their fan club first, eg. Muse did this with their recent UK tour. And some venues offer tickets first to people on their mailing list, who have to login to access ticket sales.

    In fact, it seems to me that it woulnd’t be hard to stop industrial scalping without making things illegal. Even captchas probably work. But I think a lot of venues don’t want to because they are using their own aftermarket companies to buy the tickets. So while the artist can inist on the tickets being a certain amount, the artist then finds that if they ask the venue to put certain precautions in place to prevent bot-buying they’ll get various excuses as to why this can’t be done.

  32. I’m no lawyer but I’m pretty sure that the computer misuse act could already be used to prosecute use of a bot under unauthorized access provisions

    You could angle it in somehow under a s1 offence, but it’s very difficult to do and the CPS are rather reluctant to turn a disagreement about Ts&Cs into a criminal law action.

    This loop has already been run around with complaints regarding insurance companies running automated quotes against competitors’ websites and then offering a pittance less. The official view can be summarised as, “Hmm, interesting. Still, eff off and fix it yourselves. We’re not getting involved.”

  33. Bands reckon they know [who the ‘true fans’ are], and want to ensure they can get to gigs.

    Except the bands that self-scalp, you mean? Kid Rock was cited above – I have seen reports that others do the same.
    As far as getting the true (T-shirt buying) fan in the door, I suspect that the increased ticket revenue, if they were priced at the market-clearing rate, would more than make up for the lost T-shirt margin.
    Bands price at a discount so as to not alienate their ‘true (but low wealth) fans’ – and the eventual difficulty in getting tickets is part of the hype. A dutch auction (or similar arrangement) is the only approach that makes sense. Banning scalping 1) won’t work, and 2) deprives one part of the market (those with more wealth than time) of the opportunity to see shows they might like – which might even include some ‘true fans.’

  34. > Except the bands that self-scalp, you mean?

    Since the whole reason this discussion is even happening is bands that object to touting, is it not implicit that we’re not talking about the ones who don’t?

  35. > As far as getting the true (T-shirt buying) fan in the door, I suspect that the increased ticket revenue, if they were priced at the market-clearing rate, would more than make up for the lost T-shirt margin.

    Cool. So, as I said above, you want to dissuade them, go argue with them. At the moment, you’re someone not involved in that industry talking about how people who are in that industry are doing things all wrong. That doesn’t make you wrong, admittedly. Go revolutionise the music industry.

    But, for the last twenty years, the people lecturing musicians about how they’re going about this whole money-making thing all wrong have in fact themselves been wrong, and musicians making the claim “If we do this we will lose out” have been right.

    But that doesn’t even matter. I’ll repeat this bit: I support everyone’s right to work for whatever price they please and sell their goods to whomever they want for however much they want — even if they’re mistaken. I honestly have no idea why this claim is considered so outrageous round here whenever the subject of touting comes up but is considered a common-sense principle of freedom in all other contexts.

    While we’re on the subject, you do oppose rich people working for charity, right? HOW DARE THEY SELL THEIR LABOUR BELOW THE MARKET CLEARING RATE! Or is that different for some reason?

  36. But that doesn’t even matter. I’ll repeat this bit: I support everyone’s right to work for whatever price they please and sell their goods to whomever they want for however much they want — even if they’re mistaken.

    I thought most here were objecting to a proposed law that would prevent someone from purchasing said goods at the offered price, if they then in turn want to sell those goods on.

  37. Since the whole reason this discussion is even happening is bands that object to touting…

    Kid Rock (the example cited) also objected to touting (or scalping, in North American terms). We have no idea whether other bands that object to touting are also profiting from it. Not, of course, that any musicians are ever hypocritical bastards (yes, Bono comes to mind, but he’s only one among many).

    I’m with you on the right of anyone to price their product or service as they wish. I just don’t see the need for a law that pretends that we can eliminate a market that clearly serves a need. As noted in the thread, a “no resale” contractual requirement and baring admission to anyone who couldn’t provide the ID of the initial seller would clear up the problem – if the musicians were really that concerned – and it would do so without imposing costs on the rest of us for policing and court time. If the ‘true fans’ are so important to musicians, let them bear the cost of extra security, slower (and thereby less customer-friendly) admission, and so on.

  38. Mr Ecks,

    “As for the whole concert concept — unless you are some juvo, scummy psycho-billy creep who has to be there to smell the stench of your crew– then the age of the concert is drawing to a close.”

    Not really. A lot of tech is appearing because of the lack of capacity. Some opera people get this wrong about the live broadcasting to cinemas. They are wrongly thinking it’s killing sales, but the reality is that they add capacity. They sell every £200 ticket in Covent Garden. Screenings to Droitwich and Croydon at £10 a go are just increasing capacity. People aren’t choosing the latter. If they did, prices would fall.

    Kraftwerk are £90 a ticket, because people are prepared to pay it. And they sold every ticket in hours. I’m convinced there’s at least partly a “Veblen good” thing in there. The amount that people tweet/photograph from major gigs now is out of control.

    The rise of Glastonbury is basically about it getting onto the BBC. It then became cultural currency. Your friends knew about it, so going became the new equivalent of going to the opera in the 19th century. Really, spending £150 to stand in a muddy field listening to landfill indie?

    I still love a good live performance in a smaller venue, though. I’ll go and see someone like Suede or Spiritualized. £30~, 2000 seater, no crappy overpriced booze or spending hours going in and out.

  39. “But that doesn’t even matter. I’ll repeat this bit: I support everyone’s right to work for whatever price they please and sell their goods to whomever they want for however much they want — even if they’re mistaken. I honestly have no idea why this claim is considered so outrageous round here whenever the subject of touting comes up but is considered a common-sense principle of freedom in all other contexts.”

    It’s not outrageous. You can charge whatever price you like; it’s a free country. *But doing so has consequences.* You cannot avoid them. People will apply their infinite ingenuity to circumventing your barrier, and will usually succeed. That’s how it is. it’s only the belief that simply wanting things to be a certain way has the power to overrule reality that’s ‘outrageous’.

    The standard consequence of price controls is either a shortage, mitigated by a black market, or a glut, resulting in an inability to sell. It’s like the second law of thermodynamics. If you’ve got a way to beat the law of supply and demand, the president of Venezuela would dearly love your help…

    The problem is a mismatch between supply and demand. You can either reduce demand by raising the price, or you can increase supply by doing more gigs at bigger venues. The latter solution is better. It means more money for the bands, more good music, more happy fans and fewer frustrated ones. The money then goes towards paying the costs of building and running those bigger venues, encouraging more young people to go into the music business, and generally rewarding the production of the things society wants more of. Setting price controls just diverts this money from the producers to the black marketeers, and perpetuates the shortage instead of solving it.

    If you as a musician love and respect your non-wealthy fans and want them to be able to come to your concerts, don’t frustrate them by playing at small venues so they can’t get tickets. At the end of the day, it makes no difference whether the reason they can’t get in is because they can’t afford it or because they simply weren’t fast enough at the website. They miss out either way.

    The problem is too few tickets. The presence of scalpers at your chosen price means you need to provide more. Raise supply until everyone is satisfied, and the tickets will still be affordable.

  40. BiG,

    “Maybe the promoters don’t actually want to maximise income, would rather have genuine fans there than people bringing their own caviar?”

    Why can’t the “genuine fans” be rich?

  41. NiV,

    I absolutely agree with your reply to my “for whatever price they please”, but I think you missed “to whomever they want”.

    As I said above, the music indistry has a long, long history of not being much bothered by touting. It is the automation of it that they’re objecting to now: not the fact that tickets are being resold, but that so many tickets are now being bought up in bulk by touts that almost no-one can get the ticket at the original price (for certain concerts). They are receiving complaints from their fans about this, and they work in an industry where the way you treat your fans matters and affects future sales.

    Most of the objections in this thread are to the idea of banning touting. But actually no-one’s suggesting that. They’re suggesting banning the mass automated purchase of tickets. As I said above, there are already methods for making touting difficult, and someone else (sorry, can’t be bother reading through it all again to remember who) said quite rightly that, when musicians do ask for such measures, venues and promoters tend to claim it can’t be done. (Venues and promoters are pains in the arse in a great many ways.) Then again, it’s also true that such methods are user-unfriendly and would slightly degrade the experience of going to a gig.

    I’m not convinced disallowing automated high-speed mass bulk purchase is such a bad thing. Surely it would enable price segmentation: ordinary punters could buy tickets and so could touts, but on an equal footing. I’m also not convinced, of course, that disallowing necessarily means banning.

    > you can increase supply by doing more gigs at bigger venues.

    No, you can’t. The size of venue you can play depends on other factors entirely, mainly whether the venue is willing to let you play there, and whether you’re capable of it: playing a large venue is a different skill from playing small ones. It also costs a fortune. U2 have lost money on some of their tours, but they can afford to. But then they got rich before 1997. Other musicians are being told that they have to give their music away and make money by touring.

    It’s not the simple solution you suggest.
     
     

    Wiltshire,

    > Why can’t the “genuine fans” be rich?

    Of course they can. And of course others can’t. So how about we enable musicians to practice price segmentation?

  42. “I’m not convinced disallowing automated high-speed mass bulk purchase is such a bad thing.”

    Venezuela set price controls, where the government insisted goods had to be sold at prices everyone could afford. The result was massive shortages, with most of the people wanting the goods not being able to get them. People queued at the shops – some enterprising souls even camped out all night so they could be first in the queue when the shops open next morning. This obviously isn’t fair on all the people who don’t, who find the shops stripped bare by the time they get to the front of the queue. The only place most people can get stuff is on the black market, (if they can afford it).

    So we’re going to ban camping out on the pavement all night. That’ll fix the problem! There might be no more goods in the shops to go round than there were, but at least everyone will have an equal chance in the scrum the next morning, and that’s the important thing, right?

    Does that really seem like the right answer to the problem to you?

    “No, you can’t.”

    Ah, yes. Of course! The reason there are shortages of basic goods in Venezuela is not due to the government’s price controls, but the fact that the local manufacturers are not capable of scaling up to mass production. It’s a different skill, you know.

  43. It is the automation of it that they’re objecting to now. Of course! The reason there are shortages of basic goods in Venezuela is not due to the government’s price controls. Some opera people get this wrong about live broadcasting to cinemas. I know, You want to dissuade them, sure, go argue with them. It’s great software and useful.

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