What Price Hannah Montana?
Most people who have a tweener girl in their life know who and what Hannah Montana is.
Hannah Montana is a Disney Network creation, a show about a teenager (Miley Stewart - played by Miley Cyrus) who has a secret life as a pop singer, the eponymous Hannah.
Anyway, Hannah Montana is coming soon to a concert hall near you, and good luck getting a ticket.
My sister Trish tried to go online at the precise moment the tickets went on sale. Alas, they were all gone, snatched up in large part by ticket agencies. (The Attorney General in Massachusetts is doing some investigating here.)
And now the race is on, and people who just a week or so ago were probably telling themselves that you have to be out of your mind to spend $100 on a concert ticket for a 10 year old, are now being asked to pay a lot more than that.
I went on one of the ticket sites, and there were "ask" prices of over $7K per ticket at a couple of venues in California. That's some convenience charge, no?
I was pleased to see that my hometown of Worcester, Massachusetts, is on the more rational side of pricing here. The highest ask for the Heart of the Commonwealth concert was $2499.99. Well, that's a bargain (or as we say in Worcester, a bah-gin). I mean, I'd hate to pay over $2.5K for a Hannah Montana concert.
No doubt these stratospheric prices will settle down, but I'm guessing that - having gotten complete sticker shock - some parents will decide that it's really not that far out of whack to pay $500 for a ticket. I mean, isn't $500 a lot more sensible than two or seven grand. And after all, the kids are only young once, and they really love Miley Cyrus, and she's a really good role model, and, after all, just a few years ago we were willing to wait 9 hours in a sleet storm to buy the last Tickle Me Elmo, so....
One of the Boston TV stations interviewed one mother who had to break the news to her little girl (who appeared to be about 5 or 6) that they wouldn't be going to the concert because it cost too much. "Can't we get Daddy to make more money for us," the child suggested. The mother's response to this tearful little plea was not recorded. Presumably Mommy and Daddy said 'no.'
I'm pretty much a free-enterpriser when it comes to scalping. If you bought tickets for an event that you can't go to, why can't you resell them for what the market can bear (as long as you pay the taxes, etc.)? But that's on an individual basis.
There's something completely distasteful about ticket agencies subverting all controls and scooping up all the tickets, then jacking up the prices. While concert promoters (and sports teams) just want to sell all the tickets out, they have to know that letting the ticket selling intermediaries grab all the goodies is eventually going to backfire on them. The audience will eventually get fed up and maybe even stay home.
And, of course, the concert promoters [and sports teams] will not want to be leaving any money on the table. If they see big bucks flying out there, they'll want to grab some/all of it back. I don't know quite how the cahoots between the talent providers and the ticket sellers works, but I'm guessing the talent providers walk something of a fine line. They like the ticket sellers to assume the risk that a concert or game won't sell out. They just may not like it quite so much when the ticket sellers score the big reward.
And now we have all those disappointed little girls who won't get to see Hannah Montana. Well, I say here's a nice little opportunity to explain family values to the kids.
And wouldn't it be nice if all those thousands of Hannah Montana moms and dads just held their ground until the ticket prices came down to face value + a "reasonable" handling fee - which these days seems to be pretty unreasonable even for non-must-see events?
Wouldn't you love to see the look on the face of the folks who paid $5K for two tickets to the Worcester concert when they figure out that the folks seated next to them paid $100? I sure would.