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Open Letter To Ticket Scalpers: Y'all Make Great Businessmen, But You Have To Stop

Ticket scalpers in Singapore

“Dearest Scourge of the Earth, how dare you.”

That’s how I’d very much liked to have begun this letter if not for the fact that this is a distinguished article, for a very proper publication. You see, concerts are a dream come true for hardcore fans. They’re for music lovers who wish to finally breathe the same air as Taylor Swift, or listen to Chris Martin croon Yellow live after years of hitting “replay” on Spotify.

Then, we have ticket scalpers who chope these highly coveted tickets and resell them with $3,000 price tags. You can see why we’re up in arms, right?

The ticket scalper phenomena

ticket scalpers singapore - coldplayAttending Coldplay’s concert in 2017.Image credit: Kezia Tan

Tickets for popular artists are in high demand and are hard to obtain – that’s to be expected. But scalpers, don’t think you can swoop in right after we come out of a ticketing scuffle, all battled, bruised, and empty-handed, and present “CAT 1 TICKETS FOR SALE” – just to dash our hopes with a price tag only the devil would dream of asking.

We see you out there, hiding behind your funny little Carousell usernames and cutesy display photos. We see you and we are more upset at you than a “Karen” seeking a manager. 

ticket scalpers singapore - fall out boyImage credit: Kezia Tan

According to Wikipedia, ticket scalping is the “act of reselling tickets for admission to events.” 

In the past people who were unable to make it to concerts would resell their tickets, at purchase price, or even at a loss. 

ticket scalpers singapore - westlife concertSecured Westlife tickets when they released a second round of concert dates – say no to scalpers!Image credit: Kezia Tan

But, open any 3rd party reseller site today and you’ll see nothing but preposterous price tags with a profit margin that goes beyond 10 times the original price. 

ticket scalpers singapore - concert$8,888 for Taylor Swift tickets? Maybe you should build a time machine to catch her next concert instead.Image adapted from: MustShareNews

Now, let’s define “ticket scalpers” in 2023. They’re grabbing as many tickets as possible to resell them at a profit. They’re abhorrent arthropods – invertebrates! Animals without backbones! Evolution created a lot of great things but I’m sure Darwin didn’t dream of us heading in this direction.

ticket scalpers singapore - carousellWhy?Image credit: Carousell

There are scalpers that straight-up demand crazy prices, but these folks are not the worst out there. Oh no. Let’s give a moment to the ones who innocuously list $0 as the asking price, leaving interested parties to out bid each other.

It’s giving: “don’t wanna feel guilty about this hehe👉👈 ”. 

As much as it’s painful to admit, this is a smart business move – if we were to look at things from an emotionally detached standpoint. But money at the cost of your integrity? What have you become? 

ticket scalpers singapore - concert pricesImage credit: Carousell

And then, there are the trolls who chuck many zeros to the end of prices just to get into the news – a sure sign that the ticketing battle has become so ridiculous it’s become meme-worthy. Read: a joke. 

Do they have any redeeming qualities?

ticket scalpers singapore - money

Scalpers are among the most scorned group to walk the earth today. But are they really rotten to the core? 

We’re tried to reach out to several ticket scalpers but to no avail. Really, no one wanted to talk to us, despite admitting they have done it before. So, it’s pretty obvious they know what they’re doing is rather terrible. 

On the other hand, there are folks who’ve had decent experiences with scalpers. Here are some experiences from folks who have patronaged their services – as I’d never. 

ticket scalpers singapore - TXTImage credit: @txt_bighit via Instagram

As it turns out, they’re not all incorrigible. Rebecca Lee, 29, paid $325 for a $288 standing pen ticket for Korean boy band TXT. It was a $37 markup, which is pretty reasonable if you consider the stress and time needed to queue. The seller also explained that the extra fee was for the paid ticketing service she used to obtain the ticket in the first place.

My editor also shared she managed to get her hands on a pair of resold Foo Fighters tickets at a ~$50 top-up, and agreed that some sellers are “not that brutal”. Likewise, in the past, she’s also resold concert tickets for the same price she bought them for, no profiteering involved.

Still, to the remaining sellers that upcharge hundreds of dollars, shame on you.

War against ticket scalpers

There are various ticketing sites around the world that have chosen to go to war against ticket scalpers. For instance, DICE from London only releases QR code tickets right before the event. These codes also cannot be screenshot.

We can only hope that more stringent policies are implemented in Singapore soon. For one, Ed Sheeran would probably like that. 

To the desperate fans who are buying tickets at a large makeup, we don’t blame you, truly. But this also perpetuates scalper culture and on top of it all, puts you at risk of potential scams. Take care of yourselves and remember there’s always the option to stand outside the stadium as a collective act of defiance. 

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No demand, no $$ amirite. 

Closing words to the heinous hustle 

ticket scalpers singapore - national stadiumImage credit: @twnb98 via Instagram

Hustlers or hooligans? I had some friends weigh in. Granted, answers were given right after the Taylor Swift presale fiasco so they’re very emotionally charged. All expletives have been redacted and comments have been edited for clarity.

Amanda Lim, 29: I think that as long as there’s demand, there will be scalpers supplying these tickets.To the people who sell a $300 ticket for upwards of $1,000, [expletive redacted]. Still, I hope they [expletive redacted] reflect and look inwards. I hope their bias – favourite singer – will never notice them.

Raewyn Koh, 30+: [Expletive redacted] your mother, father, [expletive redacted]. Is it you have so much free time to do this kind of [expletive redacted]? Hope the next time your idol comes to Singapore and you get tickets at National Stadium, a bird will fly past and [expletive redacted] in your mouth while you’re singing your favourite song.

Joyce Yeow, 25: Who do you think you are, taking away joy from true fans? If this is your way of earning money, do [expletive redacted] better. You’re no better than a thief who’s stolen from a child. The next time you’re crossing a road or even LEAVING THE HOUSE, WATCH OUT.

So scalpers, we see where you’re coming from. We really do. It’s a smart business move, and you’re certainly not doing anything illegal in doing this. You’re just an [expletive redacted].

If you like concerts, not scalpers: 

Guide to getting concert tickets Being a Taylor Swift fan in SingaporeMeeting artistes and celebrities in SG

Cover image adapted from: Kezia Tan, @taylorswift via Instagram, Carousell


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