It’s upon us again. The melts, the tears, the butthurt of being shut out by Phish Tickets By Mail while waiting for the letdown of a brutal LiveTicketNationMaster on-sale for the upcoming Phish shows at that place where the Knicks pretend to play basketball. We are already seeing the social media outrage from fans over tickets for purchase on Stubhub and other third party sites. Many are still furious over platinum tickets in the pavilion this past summer. Easy and fair access to Phish tickets is broken (especially for high profile runs) and something needs to change. Where no podcast or jam blog will ever slice the nipple that feeds them to question or call this bullshit out we here at The Phunion (a not for profit organization) want you to be happy and we are here to give you and Phish the solution to this problem.
Stop us if you have heard this before. What if we told you there was a band who has spent decades playing sold out shows in massive venues in front of a rabid fan base? What if we told you their albums kinda suck but their live shows are an intense experience? What if we told you that their fans travel to see multiple shows despite the same set list every night while also spending upwards of an hour in line to buy merch? What if we told you that unlike Phish and the Grateful Dead this act easily sells out arenas and stadiums on six continents AND sometimes their lead vocalist literally flies the entire band and crew in an airplane around the World? What if we also told you that they care so much about their fans that they have found a way to keep tickets out of the hands of scalpers and in the hands of fans for face value?
You read that right. During their 2017 world tour Iron Maiden managed to keep 95% of tickets off of third party sites and get them directly into the hands of their #RealFans. A reliable source who has asked us to remain anonymous has informed us that for their 35+ date Legacy of the Beast 2019 North American tour the band has managed to keep an estimated 98% of tickets off third party sites. The cold hard facts are that Iron Maiden is a far more successful band than Phish and they have used their power to protect fans who spend their hard earned money to see them live. So why is Phish not doing the same for us?
Phish could very easily implement this system but their are two major obstacles. Profits and entitlement.
We have zero knowledge of any deals between Phish and the massive ticket conglomerates that Pearl Jam so bravely fought in the 1990’s and Metallica was recently reported to profit off of. What we do know is that the extremely fair Phish Ticket By Mail system from the 1.0 era has been replaced by a glorified fan pre-sale where mediocre tickets are easily obtained for that random Tuesday night at a corporate amphitheater yet often denied for a high profile gig like New Year’s at MSG.
Where many in our community take to social media after being rejected shocked that “phans” are scalping tickets moments after they get the confirmation email; the simple fact is scalpers are smart enough to use Phish Tickets By Mail to their advantage. We also live in a world where some Phish fans are happy to not embrace the face using sites like Cash or Trade and pay top dollar for tickets. Phish Tickets By Mail is a once great idea that no longer works as we enter the third decade of the 21st century. So what can Phish and their management do to make sure all fans can get into the show at a fair price you ask? Abolish the out of date Phish Tickets By Mail operation and copy the Iron Maiden game plan which features one on-sale date and time.
When Iron Maiden tickets go on sale yes you will still need to wait in an obnoxious waiting room and there will be 2,000 people in line in front of you. But when your turn comes up the rules (unlike The Black Keys a few weeks back) are very clear that the tickets are electronic, you will need a smart phone with the LiveTicketNationMaster app to get in, and the barcode of the ticket will refresh every 90 seconds. No print outs or screen caps are allowed. Let’s say you buy four tickets, you will only be able to transfer three of them since your guests will need them on their phones. As far as those transfers go, you’re only allowed to transfer the tickets on the day of show and each ticket can only be transferred once. Phish could easily do this for shows like Halloween or New Year’s and where it would be sad to see ticket trees vanish; this could also put an end to fans buying tickets for shows they have zero desire to attend looking to trade them for higher profile shows.
It is proven this system scalps scalpers. However is it ideal for our community? What happens to someone who buys tickets for a show months in advance but for whatever reason they can’t make it and thus want to move their tickets? There is something magical about deciding last minute to fly to a new state and see Phish a few days before the show, does this help or hurt that last minute spontaneous choice? Is LiveTicketNationMaster set up to allow the sale of tickets at face value via their resale site? Will nugs.net be able to provide your free stream post show with this complex system? No matter how you feel about stubbing a pal down a barcode that regenerates very much complicates people moving around the venue especially when wrist bands are required. Would you be willing to loan your phone out for 5-10 minutes to stub down a friend?
There is a lot of money to be made off Phish. As we understand it, the band at the start of 3.0 for their own health has taken a very hands off approach and allow management to make major business decisions and we fully respect them focusing on their art. Many in this community have a platform and a voice to push for this change but will they? If a band the size of Iron Maiden can successfully eliminate scalping, Phish could also protect their fans and do the exact same thing. If you are as sick as we are over scalped tickets and platinum seats than it is time you Run To The Hills and SCREAAAM. Hit up Fishman on Facebook. Send a tweet to Mike encouraging him to look into this system. Next time you run into Trey at the juice bar in NYC ask him about this. Challenge the podcasts and the satellite radio DJ’s and the bloggers to discuss this. Contact Red Light Management and demand fair access to tickets.
Or just bitch on social media the next time this happens, sometimes it is so much easier to complain.