Two weeks ago, Vulture.com named Phish fans the 21st (out of 25) most dedicated fan base of any popular group, TV show, movie, book, or cult following in the world. According to the list, Phish fans rank up there with the likes of Harry Potter, Star Wars,Game of Thrones, Bruce Springsteen, Bieber (what’s good Dan Kanter?), Twilight, Lord of the Rings, Gaga, Arrested Development, and many others. While Phish’s dedication to their craft and their drive to carve out their own unique niche in the music world has undoubtedly made them so successful, an incomparably dedicated fan base has also helped in establishing the band’s popular status. Typically, Phish is good to their fans so I have to give a lot of credit to the band, management and Phish Inc. for pleasing their fans. However,in the wake of the New Years Eve 2012 ticket fiasco, I truly believe Phish dropped the ball.
Within days of going on sale to the public, hundreds of tickets were available on secondary markets. As of now, there are between 1,000 and 1,750 tickets (probably more) available online for each date ranging from a hundred dollars to several hundred dollars for mediocre seats (FYI Madison Square Garden seats just under 20,000). While I totally support open markets and a capitalistic society, I think Phish could do a better job catering to their fans on the ticket-front. One can make the argument that “it’s all in the game,” and that Phish wants to maximize their revenue from ticket sales. In addition, it’s also possible that Madison Square Garden has a say in the matter, and that there are business ramifications to such decisions well above my understanding. But, when comedian Louis C.K. decides to sell tickets for his tours directly from his Web site, it proves that there can be alternative methods to this ticket madness that promotes financial success. The Phish ticket lottery is definitely a step in the right direction, but when only one of my friend’s got tickets for one show out of everyone I knew who put in for tickets I think there is a problem.
I get that New Year’s Eve in New York City is prime time to make money, but I think it comes at the misfortune of fans. Many fans will not stop going to shows and will likely buy ridiculously marked up tickets, but many fans will not. CashorTrade is fighting the good fight, and trying to even the playing field so fans can help fans trade tickets, but when you don’t have any tickets to trade, you are in an unfortunate position: trying to buy face value tickets when people want to trade for other dates or sell their tickets for double,triple, or quadruple the face value.
I don’t have the answer, but I do know that as of now, I will continue my search for affordable and face value tickets, so I can do what I love to do in my free time; see Phish. I also know that Phish would not have this problem if they played a NYE type-festival in a warm state (a Big Cypress like event). Then, there would not be such a difficult time getting tickets.
I love seeing Phish, my friends love seeing Phish, you love seeing Phish, as docountless of other fans. But when tickets are in such a high demand for a short run of shows, thousands of fans get shut out. Maybe I am making a bigger deal out of this than what is really happening, but all of my “research” tells me that scoring tickets for this upcoming NYE run has been more difficult than years past. Good luck getting tickets and hopefully see you on “mini-tour.”