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Kid Rock, Rolling Stones on scalping, summer tours

Friday - 5/24/2013, 9:49am  ET

Kid Rock (AP)
This Dec. 30, 2012 file photo shows Kid Rock performing at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casinos' Hard Rock Live! in Hollywood, Fla. It's a crowded tour market and everyone is competing for your entertainment dollar. Kid Rock recently called high ticket prices for the Timberlake-Hova Legends of the Summer Tour "garbage" and is countering with $20 tickets for his own Best Night Ever Tour. (Photo by Jeff Daly/Invision/AP, file)

MESFIN FEKADU
AP Music Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- Kid Rock is a scalper.

The 42-year-old Grammy winner, who is launching a summer tour where most tickets are priced at $20, said he's scalping about 1,000 tickets from each show to make up for the cheaper regular price.

"I'm in the scalping business, but you know what? We told everyone. A lot of artists have been doing this for years behind fans' backs, taking all these backdoor deals," he said. "We look at StubHub and other places and see what they're selling them for and we just undercut them."

Kid Rock's "$20 Best Night Ever Tour" kicks off June 28 in Bristow, Va., and the Detroit native, who released his debut album in 1990, said he likely scalped secretly on past tours.

"I'm sure we have," he said. "I can't say for sure, but I'm not going to say that we haven't. I wouldn't be surprised if we did."

Kid Rock's discount ticket pricing is leading a change in tours where scalpers play a major role as the marketplace for secondary sources for tickets continues to grow, especially in a summer when key acts like The Rolling Stones, Beyonce, Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z are on the road.

"If I see a scalper, I'll scalp him," the Rolling Stones' Keith Richards said, laughing.

He said he would like to play free shows to balance the high cost for tickets; The Rolling Stones' "50 & Counting Tour" has a range of ticket prices, and Pollstar reported that the average price of a ticket among the tour's seven shows was $355.14.

"I'd do some free shows. I'd work my butt off and I don't care how much. But these are set up above my head, man," Richards said in a recent interview. "You're kind of locked in a thing here whether you like it or not. I wish it was five bucks a ticket."

The Rolling Stones did play a secret show at the Echoplex club in Los Angeles last month, where fans got in by winning a lottery and had to be ID'd and given photo bracelets to eliminate the chance of scalping the tickets, which were just $20.

But Mick Jagger said there isn't much the artists can do about scalping and secondary sources for tickets.

"The artist is totally powerless in this. People have made a lot of fuss about it before, but on the other side, some people are like, 'We might as well participate in it.' And you can't really blame the artist for participating in it because why shouldn't they in a way?" he said. "I know we don't participate in it, but nevertheless, I don't blame people if they wanted to do it."

"You can look at it like, 'Well, no one's making any money except these secondary ticket selling companies and they're making more money than anyone,'" Jagger continued. "It's completely legal so until it's illegal, there's nothing much anyone can do about that."

Ticketmaster's North American President Jared Smith said Kid Rock's deal, which he completed with Ticketmaster partner Live Nation, is a first of more to come, though they might not be as risky as Kid Rock's plan, which also includes $4 draft beers and $20 T- shirts.

"I absolutely believe that we're starting to see the real acceleration of some really healthy things in pricing that are going to create new opportunities for fans to come and experience it in a really special way," Smith said.

A small way that artists have been able to control scalping is through paperless tickets, which only allows the buyers of the tickets to use them at shows and are not allowed to resell them. Smith said paperless tickets, which launched five years ago, accounts for "about 1 percent" of the tickets at Ticketmaster.

"It hasn't grown necessarily as a percentage of the total tickets that we sell, but we certainly see more artists employing it," Smith said. "When it really first started, it was kind of looked at as a tool to use across the entire seats in the arena, but it's really become a tool for the best seats in the house. Increasingly we see artists using it very, very targeted for like the top 500 seats in the house or the top 1,000 seats."

Bruce Springsteen, Keith Urban, New Kids on the Block, Radiohead, Rascal Flatts, Selena Gomez, Muse, Miley Cryus, Iron Maiden, Atoms for Peace and Eric Church are among the acts using paperless tickets.

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