what about ticket scalping for Adele, Springsteen, Rollercon MVP passes, etc?


Perry G. Brown is pissed.

He went through the process of trying to get tickets through Ticketmaster for a popular show, and in spite of being on line at the start of the sale, got a sold out status. But tickets were immediately available through secondary market (shall we call them legal scalpers?)

And all of you know this from your own experience.

I included Rollercon MVP passes above to grab some of you; even though they are sold out now you still have a chance and won’t pay over the preset fee, and I will explain here later.

Many of you know I have been in ticketing for years and years. I started BASS Tickets in northern California and later became Executive Vice President, sales and marketing, for Ticketmaster in its formative years.

BASS and Ticketmaster were part of the initial distribution for venues, sports, and producers. The beauty of the systems was that you could restrict the amount of tickets any individual purchased; screened the outlets (i.e. record stores, etc) to see if the procedures were being violated and more. Should have been perfect.

Well, the system worked when promoters like Bill Graham were involved. When an event went on sale, almost no tickets were held back, except a limited amount by contract with the bands, record companies, etc; and never the first ten rows; those were for the fans. On one famous occasion Bill went in line to where Grateful Dead tickets were going on sale. He wanted to make certain that those in lines were fans and not hired buyers. So he asked those  people to name three Dead songs, and when they couldn’t he pulled them out of line. He also required that none of our employees or store managers, etc, could buy first.

But not everyone was Bill. Promoters throughout the country held back tickets and would sell them to brokers at a price above the face value, and in most cases report them to the agents and acts as sold, and hold back the excess. (Promoters of very popular acts worked on a percentage of the revenue and would look for ways to increase their revenue).

Today things are completely different, and I will try to explain. And none of these pertains to Brown Paper Tickets as they operate on an entirely different basis.

When Ticketron (not all remember) was the national ticketing company promoters were charged a small “inside” fee on each ticket sold, and the consumer paid a relatively small service charge. When Ticketmaster came into the marketplace, promoters and producers were offered a different deal: most would pay nothing (depending on their size and imporantce), again based on potential volume of an exclusive arrangement for all tickets sold away from the venue or promoters box office, they might receive full computerization, ticket selling machines, and a rebate based on anticipated ticket sales. Thus the ticket company became like the concessions at a ball park or arena: in order to have the contract, a certain amount had to be guaranteed to the venue (ever wondered why you pay $10 for a beer or hot dog?)

And eventually the agents, acts, etc wanted a piece of the service fee, so today you may find ticket prices of $150 with a service fee of $30 or more (sometimes, much more).

And instead of having a few hundred stores and phone room selling tickets when a performance goes on sale, now you have tens of thousands of potential buyers who can order on their pcs, mobile devices, etc. So you depend on the luck of your attempt to purchase. And to further complicate the buy, now the primary ticket distribution system in most cases (Ticketmaster) owns Ticket Now, a secondary ticket seller (Bill Graham is spinning in his grave) and there you go. So if you have $1500 or $2000 to spare you might get an Adele ticket.

And let us talk about the way that MVP tickets are sold through BPT. Between now and July tickets that can not be used will be listed through Rollercon for other buyers as all are presently sold out. And they will be resold at face value, and since the pass holders are required to show identification at Rollercon (driver’s license), the passes cannot just be sold to someone else as each one has the buyer’s name on it.

So you say, why doesn’t Brown Paper Tickets handle these events with its no charge to producers, 99 cents service fee plus 3 1/2% to cover the credit card (on the $150 ticket described above, the BPT service fee would be $6.24). So why don’t these venues use BPT that has all the ticket selling capabilities of Ticketmaster? The answer is money; BPT decided a long time ago that they would help the producers and ticket buyers (see our doers, our community projects like blood drives, etc) and not put up huge sums (some venues get guarantees of $1,000,000 to handle their tickets exclusively). and all the Roller Derby Leagues, clubs, festivals, etc and etc that have made the company one of the world’s largest (and better customer service than any) was a risky way to go for President William S. Jordan and CEO Steve Butcher. There is a satisfaction in what is being provided. And everyone in the company follows the same path.

And although I am not a very religious person, I feel I am finally doing penance for my part in the whole mechanism…..thank you Brown Paper Tickets for giving me happiness in the ticket world.

Woz, Roller Derby, the US Festival and the Steve Jobs movie


I met Steve Wozniak at the US Festival, perhaps the greatest collection of contemporary bands in 1982 and 1983. I believe almost 60 of the best bands and performers from the Clash to the Grateful Dead to Van Halen to Willie Nelson to the Pretenders and the Police and on and on appeared in the two year run over a total of 7 days near San Bernardino, California. Look it up.

Because David Zimmerman from BASS Tickets had heard how unhappy Woz had been with the way Ticketron had handled the sales in 1982, I was able to sign up the Festival for the fledging Ticketmaster entrance into Southern California in 1983. The impetus that the million dollars in advertising generated (always mentioning Ticketmaster as the phone and outlet source) really made us known in that area.

So I went both years, all days, but I must confess I didn’t listen to all 12 hours or more every day. And that is when I met Woz who solely created, financed, and presented the events.

This amazing man created the products that became Apple. Apparently, Steve Jobs liked the attention (I am seeing the movie this weekend), but really had nothing to do with creating the Apple 1, 2, etc. And Woz eventually left the company but today represents them with visits all around the globe.

What I found out in talking to him that he (of course) had watched Roller Derby on TV in the Bay Area where he grew up (and lives today), and he was quite a fan. I understand that he has shown up at various Derby events, and even skated on the banked track. Of course I got him a copy of “Roller Derby to Rollerjam”.

In the limited interplay that I have with him, I have found him to be a warm, accessible human being. He is a friend on facebook (and 32 of my friends are also mutual friends…..Misty (Pia Mess) Greer, why am I not surprised that you are one also). I also follow him on twitter where he seems to be traveling the world incessantly (all departure and arrival cities are listed), and he drives his Tesla to Morgan Hill to recharge and enjoy the delightful cuisine of this quaint village (really, Morgan Hill?).

So when you purchase an ipad or iphone, realize that at the start of the largest company in the world, there was this delightful man, a Roller Derby fan.

From the End of the World


I like documentaries better than almost any movies. And I like non-fiction and history to read.

Showtime had really a great documentary on tonight:  From the End of the World, about the final tour last year of one of the world’s most popular groups.  It didn’t glorify them as indiviuals, and by the end you felt great compassion for them as they disbanded.

After having virtually nothing to do with the music business other than enjoying it during my Derby years, it virtually became my life and lifeblood for over 25 years that I was in the computerized ticketing business. I wanted to know all about it, so I made friends and worked with virtually all the clubs, venues, and promoters in Northern Califonia.  I heard Huey Lewis and the News at their very first date at the Old Waldorf, saw Prince at the Keystone, and the list of acts could go on and on as at the time most performers and groups played the clubs or the smaller venues like the Fillmore or other places where promoter Bill Graham presented them.

Then for some unkown reason I was asked to be ticket manager and advance person for the secret Roller Thunder Revue tour through the Northeastern US, featuring Bob Dylan (actually the promoter), Joan Baez, T-Bone Burnett, Roger McGuinn and others and saw the mechanics of a tour, so different from when we toured with Roller Derby.

And when I was back in the Bay Area I tuned in to what the FM stations and AM rock stations were playing and subscribed to all music publications so I would know who the artists were, often before they even toured so they could either be our clients or we could sign up the venues they might play in……I can honestly say that there wasn’t an artist from Rhythm and Blues to jazz, Rock and Roll to Punk and Country that I didn’t have a good idea what their popularity and ticket selling potential would be.

I would pour over the weekend papers and counter-culture publications to get an idea of who would be the next big act, and at that time the club scene provided a huge share of our ticket sales.  And through the popular club (long gone) Keystone Berkeley, the Hells Angels found me and for several years I promoted their outlaw country acts:  Willie, Waylon, Merle, etc.

Well finally in the late 90s my days ended with BASS and Ticketmaster, and I purposely wouldn’t look at the publications or listen to the radio to keep up with the music scene……I loved he fabulous Days on the Green, seeing Prince at the Forum in LA, Madonna at Madison Square Garden, backstage with Elton at the Universal Amphitheatre, but it was because my work required it…

I still listen to the music I like, and when the Stones tour I try to see them but damned if I will pay $500 for a ticket.

So that what was so strange about this wonderful documentary I saw; it was about a group of ex-djs who played electronic music that was rave oriented and drew crowds of 30,000 to 60,000 everywhere they went on this final tour.

Their name was Swedish House Mafia, and I had never heard of them.

So I guess my abdication was effective.

Who is Fernando Reguerio and what is his crazy marketing scheme?


This last week I was in the Chicago area for Brown Paper Tickets.

And a highlight was certainly my visit with the (USARS) Chicago Red Hots and their general manager Fernando Reguerio. After a great career as a professional soccer star, he had a long relationship with the Windy City Rollers, and his wife is the fabulous Kola Loka, but that is not what this is about. I do not intend to reveal all of his marketing strategy, but he intends to use so many interesting techniques and programs to increase interest and attendance for the team’s games. He also has found a way to eliminate drama, allow the players to make some money and more, but you have to contact him to find out about that.

And he has reached out to both Brown Paper Tickets (www.brownpapertickets.com) and me to utilize the services that we provide to everyone (but so few ask!). And of course as a former Roller Derby promoter (hello, out there!) I will do as much as I can personally to help him succeed.

Do you know who Bill Graham was (no, not the televangelist Billy Graham), but the man who invented the Rock and Roll concert and touring business. As head of BASS Tickets I was fortunate (?) enough to have worked with him, and he never took his eye off of the ultimate object. Here is his quote about the concert, entertainment and sport business:

“It starts with the ticket. I ask myself how I would like to be treated when buying a concert ticket…and EVERYTHING else evolves from there”

I am not going to get involved in the argument of whom the teams are skating for: themselves or the fans. I will only quote the genius of Bob Noxious who has worked with dozens of leagues in many countries: “Once you have decided to charge admission to your events, you are in the entertainment business”.

Now we at BPT will work with you if you ask for help in promotion, marketing, donations, fundraising, maximization of your tickets sales and more and more. And we have been judged the best ticket company to work with (and it doesn’t cost you anything!) by a number of independent organizations, and our customer service is unmatched. We recently received an “Oscar” for our 24-hour live service from the organization of ballet companies in the San Francisco Bay Area (we are not just about Derby).

Now to Bill Graham’s quote: have you carefully thought out the presentation of your event, how the public is engaged, the professionalism of your attraction and will the public love it? do you survey, use the resources for in-depth analysis from your ticket company, and on and on.

So, I have promoted over 3000 Derby games, sport events (including soccer), concerts and more. And recently I was asked to help from two different leagues (be still my heart!). And Bob who of course is with BPT also is available, and Michelle Sunnyday with us also skates Derby.

It is absolutely amazing to me that with revenue being so essential to the survival of most leagues that ticket sales, marketing, promotion often are on the back burner……and many of the many hundreds of leagues that utilize us do not maximize our resources……we are so unusual in that the better you promote us, and use us, the more revenue you receive……and I can give you a little secret on how to immediately sell more tickets for your upcoming game after the present one.

And if you are coming to Rollercon do not miss our seminar on all aspects of presenting and promoting successful Roller Derby…Bob and I in room 114 at 2 PM on July 24.

And if you are not using us, I can honestly say as the former founder of BASS Tickets and the Executive Vice President of Ticketmaster, that you are not maximizing your potential reach to customers, old and new.

Yes, today’s Derby for many is “for the skaters by the skaters”, but how about a little help from your friends?

And by the way, when you walk into Fernando’s hideaway in Cicero, the fans are treated so well and are so happy, but the main thing is the game is so exciting all the way through….In the long run, it is the event that attracts, brings in the fans, and hopefully brings them back.

Has your attendance declined? time to re-evaluate.

and here are some photos by Gil Leora from last Saturday’s game at Cicero…..no players standing around….full engagement by the players and by the fans.

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Oh, I am jerry@brownpapertickets.com, and Bob is Bob@brownpapertickets.com……that is all you need to know, except for Michelle@brownpapertickets.com.