Nine Inch Nails is trolling the ticketing industry (and you should too)

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You have to love Trent Reznor. Thirty years into his career as Nine Inch Nails the iconic frontman continues to find new ways to subvert the norm. This time, his rebellious actions come in the form of a (much-needed) jab at the modern ticketing industry. Before being released online, tickets for Nine Inch Nails’ upcoming US tour will only be available at select ticket booths across the country. You can read a brief explanation from the band below:

WHAT?  WHY?  PHYSICAL WORLD PRESALE?


THE PROMISE OF A WORLD MADE BETTER BY COMPUTERS AND ONLINE CONNECTIVITY HAS FAILED US IN MANY WAYS, PARTICULARLY WHEN IT COMES TO TICKETING.  EVERYTHING ABOUT THE PROCESS SUCKS AND EVERYONE LOSES EXCEPT THE RESELLER. WE’VE DECIDED TO TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT THAT WILL ALSO LIKELY SUCK, BUT IN A DIFFERENT WAY.  WE’RE HOPING MANY OF YOU WILL BE HAPPY WITH THE RESULTS, WHILE SOME MAY DO WHAT THEY ALWAYS DO AND BITCH ABOUT IT.

HERE’S HOW IT WORKS:


YOU (AN ACTUAL HUMAN BEING) SHOW UP AT THE BOX OFFICE, INTERACT WITH THE TICKET SELLER (ANOTHER ACTUAL HUMAN BEING) AND PURCHASE UP TO FOUR TICKETS THAT WILL ACTUALLY BE HANDED TO YOU ON THE SPOT.  THE TICKETS WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE ONLINE OR ANYWHERE ELSE BEFORE OR DURING THAT DAY.  ALL SEATS (INCLUDING THE BEST SEATS) WILL BE AVAILABLE FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE.  YOU MAY ACTUALLY ENCOUNTER OTHER ACTUAL HUMAN BEINGS WITH SIMILAR INTERESTS LIKELY WEARING BLACK CLOTHING DURING THE PROCESS AND POTENTIALLY INTERACT WITH THEM.  THE EXPERIENCE HAS THE POTENTIAL* TO BE ENJOYABLE.  NINE INCH NAILS HAS ALWAYS BEEN ABOUT BRINGING PEOPLE TOGETHER, LIVING LIFE TO THE FULLEST AND GOOD TIMES.**

ANY REMAINING TICKETS WILL BE SOLD AT A LATER DATE.

*NOT GUARANTEED

**NOT ENTIRELY TRUE

Fans of music worldwide know the pains of ticket purchasing being referred to above. Knowing the day and time tickets go on sale is no longer enough, nor is it any guarantee you will even be able to purchase them when they’re officially available to the public. Most tours now have presales, and more prominent artists can have several presales that are exclusive to fan clubs or corporations (American Express, Spotify, etc.). Then you have the resurgence of VIP seating, which makes the seats closest to the performers out of reach for man, as well as Platinum Seats, ticketing bots, fees, and a ruthless secondary market that is growing by the week.

In short, ticketing is complicated and expensive. Furthermore, the increased competition for seats has only served to drive a wedge between fans. Concerts are no longer a communal experience, but a challenge to see who can find the quickest way to claim a desirable seat.

You also never see or interact with other fans until the night of, which limits the amount of interaction you’re likely to have with other concertgoers. That may not seem like a big deal, but that is likely because you do not recall any different experience. Previous generations literally camped outside venues for days, even weeks to get tickets. They recognized their shared fandom, and as a result, they found a deeper meaning in the live experience. They were less alone.

Nine Inch Nails’ new campaign may not kickstart a full-on ticketing revolution, but it should renew interest in the conversation around how tickets are acquired. The process of making tickets available to everyone reasonably is a complicated one, but it is necessary one all the same. The current ticketing market pits consumers against one another for the benefit of corporations. Change is needed, but it won’t come easy.  If you have ideas, share them with us on Twitter.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.