As fans who attend country music concerts, you probably have a little bit of a love/hate relationship with ticket scalpers. You love them because when you want great seats, they have them. But you hate them because, again, they have all the great seats. And sometimes, they're charging 10 times the face value for them.
Eric Church doesn't have the same kind of love/hate with scalpers. He admits his is more like a hate/hate relationship, he said in an interview with radio station KFRG-FM/Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif., during the recent Stagecoach Festival in Indio, Calif.
"I hate that," he said. "I hate 'em. We put these parameters in place. We do everything we can to make it hard on them. If it was an even playing field, I wouldn't be as passionate as I am. But it's not."
One of Church's primary complaints involves the ticket scalpers' ability to use computer technology to gain an unfair advantage in grabbing prime tickets.
"They have companies," he explained. "They've got 100 of these bots that are always probing," Church explained of how the scalpers work electronically. ... The way they succeed is just unfair. There's only so much you can do."
What he can do -- and did do -- is take back the nearly 1,000 tickets that had obviously been purchased for resale to his Sept. 16 concert in Minneapolis.
"We decided, 'Heck with it. We'll just cancel 'em," he said. "We've taken them back and put them back on sale. It's one of the flaws right now with the music industry. There are a number of them, but that's one that we should fix."
In last week's announcement that 902 tickets originally ordered for the Minneapolis show had been canceled and returned to the box office, Church said he wanted to make sure fans aren't forced to pay scalpers a premium price to attend his concerts.
"I want my fans to be the ones who buy tickets to my shows, and I want scalpers to back off," he said. "I can't stop ticket scalpers completely, but I can definitely make it harder for them."
Garth Brooks seemed to have found a way to stop scalping at his Las Vegas shows by holding all the tickets at the box office and making the buyer show an ID to pick them up. I'd stand in a much longer line at the box office -- without complaining -- if it meant putting an end to $800 concert tickets.