Here's a great interview on YouTube with Phish lighting guru Chris Kuroda, who sat down with Jim of JimOnLight.com and Greg Owen to talk about the Hampton Coliseum shows, Topher's design work for the three-day run, and what phans can look forward to in the lighting design for Phish's 2009 Summer Tour.
Also, for everyone stressing about landing tickets to Phish 2009 Late Summer Tour, the Hidden Track blog posted this exclusive interview with Ticketbastard North America President David Butler, who talks about scalpers snatching up tickets and how Ticketbastard plays virtually no role in the secondary ticket market -- yeah, right. Below is an excerpt from that interview.
HT: I’m glad you mentioned TicketsNow. How does TicketsNow get its tickets? Are they just like the rest of the general public where they have employees on the phones and on the Internet?
DB: I’m so glad you asked that because it’s the number one misperception about the secondary ticket market. Ticketmaster, for primary tickets, owns zero inventory. We don’t own a single ticket to any Phish concert. We simply provide the mechanism for the band and the venue to sell their tickets to the public. Similarly, we own TicketsNow as you are aware, but we don’t own the tickets on TicketsNow. We simply provide an e-commerce site for buyers and sellers to meet and have a safe transaction between them. The tickets that are listed, typically, for resale on TicketsNow as an example, are owned, some by fans and most by brokers. Brokers get their tickets either by going in the on sale and buying tickets; many times they have season tickets for events so they get them that way. They may have a relationship with a promoter or a band but they don’t get any preferential treatment from Ticketmaster whatsoever.
HT: Does Ticketmaster take proactive efforts to thwart the efforts of scalpers beyond the Captcha software?
DB: Yes. Without giving away any secrets that would make it easier for them, I want you to know that our number one goal is that every ticket ends up in the fans hands. That’s what we try to make happen. So we have a number of layers of technology that we use to identify what appears to be either robotic traffic – if you look at our website you will see that we got an injunction against a company last year because they were selling the software program to brokers to attack our site to try to get tickets. We got the court to block that practice and enjoin the company not to do it anymore. We employ roughly 20 people all day long who are constantly looking at this cat-and-mouse game of automated programs and finding new ways to block or frustrate them.
In a perfect world, we wish every buyer at every on sale were the fan that plans to attend the event. That’s why we released paperless ticketing and if you notice the AC/DC concerts used it and Metallica used it when they played the (London) O2 (Arena) with us. In that scenario, when you buy your ticket, to enter the event you actually use the credit card you used to purchase the ticket to get in. That’s an anti-resale mechanism that our venues and our clients have as an option to make sure the fans are the ones who get the tickets.
HT: Does your battle with scalpers ultimately boil down to technology? You come up with something new and they come up with a way around it and so on?
DB: From a primary sales perspective, we don’t want anyone to get an unfair advantage over anyone else. Having said that, reselling tickets is legal in most of North America with a few exceptions and therefore we own TicketsNow because we know fans want to be able to sell tickets to events they can’t attend. I have season tickets for hockey and I can’t go to every game. There are a lot of fans like that who want the ability to resell their tickets and there are lots of fans who buy at the last minute and want to be able to get great seats and are willing to pay a premium price. I don’t mean to demonize the whole secondary world because I think it provides a valid business service in the marketplace. My point is that in our responsibility as the primary partner helping venues sell tickets for artists, we want to make it that nobody gets an unfair advantage. That’s why we refunded all the (Phish) orders (for Red Rocks) and instead will stick with the scheduled on sale. That’s why we try to block robotic traffic. In both those cases it was an unfair advantage for someone, albeit in the early presale it wasn’t the fans fault, it was our mistake. We want everything to be fair and transparent so every fan has an equal opportunity to get the tickets.