parrothead 300x223 Sold Out Jimmy Buffett concert tickets $10,000After researching this post on Ticket search engines, I was ready for a trip to Margaritaville! It began with a PR shouting, “Parrotheads Find Jimmy Buffett Tickets to “Sold Out” 2010 Tour Dates With FanSnap.” So all I had to do was find a Sold Out date, confirm that FanSnap had tickets for that event, and I could go back to my nap. But oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to sell tickets! I ended up lost in a maze of concert dates, ticket prices, seat maps, and overlapping search engines. I never did finish that nap.

First of all, where is the Sold Out date? I could not find a single one. There was one Craigslist ad that ran, “JIMMY BUFFETT-SOLD OUT TOUR – FEB 27th – $225.” But when I checked, there were plenty of tickets available for that date from TicketMaster / TicketsNow, and StubHub. SeatGeek even recommended waiting to buy tickets for that date! With few exceptions, the various sites just ended up searching for tickets on each others sites; talk about getting a run around!

What to do? If you want to see Jimmy Buffett, I would just scan a couple of sites, pick the best seat in your price range, buy it, and then go take a nap and be done with it! Oh, and along the way I came across this gem:

Jimmy Buffett Tickets
Sat, Aug 14, 2010 at 8:00 PM at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, IL
Section: Field A2 Row: 4
Price: $10,000.00 each (Better hurry, before they’re Sold Out!)

What would a ticket search engine CEO have to say? Read on!

Hi Charles – I didn’t realize you were up for making the drive from Virginia to Margaritaville, Florida!

Jimmy Buffett, whose new tour has just been announced and runs throughout the spring and summer of 2010, is one of the most popular touring acts. Of course, most fans check the box office (usually served by Ticketmaster – now owned by Live Nation) first to see if they can get the tickets they want. With high demand, the quality tickets sell out quickly, and whether the box office has exhausted their tickets or not, fans turn to the ticket market (what some call the resale or secondary market). The Sunrise date you mention only has single tickets remaining, for example.

With the growth of the ticket market in the last decade, there is no longer any such thing as ‘sold out’ – that’s why we put it in quotes. It is a concept that has gone the way of the record album, Tower Records, and music videos on MTV. Ticket brokers, who all have web sites, make markets in tickets. Fans also can buy and sell tickets directly on one of several ticket marketplaces. There are a huge number of places for fans to buy and sell tickets, and market pricing pressures depend of course on whether there is more demand or supply.

As you know, that’s why we launched FanSnap, and are clearly the leader in the new and growing ticket search category. FanSnap displays results from (and links to) dozens of ticket companies including all those you mentioned (with the exception of Craigslist, as we want our users to have the benefit of consumer protections). At this moment, we are displaying listings for 17 million sports, theater, and concert tickets to 84,000 events.

The confusing experience that you noted bouncing from ticket site to ticket site is the problem. FanSnap, which provides convenience and transparency, and gives fans the ability to find the best available value at any time, is the answer. Each fan has a different budget and seating preference; FanSnap gives fans the power to choose when and where to buy.

The ticket market is like the stock market; available tickets will rise and fall, and asking prices will fluctuate. As the box office on sale dates for the Buffett shows occur, the concert dates near, and the volume and variety of tickets flowing through our partner sites increases, we look forward to providing Parrotheads everywhere with the ability to not miss the show.

-Mike Janes, CEO FanSnap