Here's The Dirty Little Secret About 'Sold-Out' Concerts

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Photo: Kim Bhasin, Business Insider

For musicians, selling out a concert is a rite of passage.For die-hard fans vying for a seat among thousands, it’s their worst nightmare. 

The reality is that when promoters announce concerts have sold out in 30 or 60 seconds, chances are they’re not telling the whole truth. 

In some cases, the majority of concert seats are sold long before regular consumers have a chance at them. American Express offers its members early access to shows, and record labels reserve chunks of seats for the artist’s entourage and contest winners from radio stations. 

NPR’s Jacob Ganz reports: 

A few years ago, an investigative team in Nashville unearthed the “holds” list for a Taylor Swift show at the Sommet centre (now known as the Bridgestone Arena), a venue that held 13,330 fans. After Swift’s fan club, management, agents, record label and opening acts got ticket allotments; after a radio-sponsored presale; and after, yes, American Express card members had access to a presale, only 1,591 tickets were actually available to the public.

And let’s not forget the scammers, who are pros when it come to snapping up tickets to sell for sky-high prices in the secondary market. 

Makes Justin Bieber’s sold-out world tour a little less impressive now, doesn’t it?

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