What Ticketmaster’s New ‘Variable Pricing’ Scheme Means

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“Ticketmaster is looking to cut out the scalpers by scalping its own tickets.”

That’s the gist as described by NPR’s Planet Money blog, riffing off of an LA Times post about Ticketmaster’s new strategy, which is alternately called “variable,” “dynamic,” or “flexible” pricing and which will be introduced for events later this year.

Set pricing for tickets to concerts and sporting events could one day become a thing of the past. What might replace it is a more organized, systematic version of what scalpers and resellers do all the time right now. If this was the case, supply and demand would rule: Ticket prices would (theoretically) drop for events not selling well, and prices for events in high demand could hit the roof.

Again, this is basically what happens now anyway, only in the future it could be Ticketmaster rather than a third-party online seller or a scalper on the sidewalk making all the extra profits.

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