Make no mistake about it. Whether you’re a happy camper with a pair of tickets to an upcoming Zach Bryan concert securely in hand or not, his effort to completely eliminate scalpers and bots from the ticket buying process, while keeping prices and fees extremely affordable compared to other concerts was an overwhelming success, and came at great effort and expense from the Zach Bryan camp, and a little help from the Theo Von and his mullet.
Hopefully, Zach Bryan and his peeps chronicled and cataloged all of their efforts, noted what worked well and what didn’t, so they can then share that experience and wisdom with the rest of the music community and conscientious artists who want to take better care of their fans. The importance of this achievement cannot be underscored enough, and it’s about time someone undertook this kind of effort.
It’s also important to note that if you or anyone else sees a Zach Bryan resale ticket on any website that is not AXS, it is confirmed fraudulent at any price. Do not be fooled.
But if you’re a Zach Bryan fan and did not secure tickets to an upcoming show, there is a better chance than not that you don’t give a flying shit about any of this. You’re mad as hell, and you want the rest of the world to feel your pain because you won’t be there to experience the Zach Bryan phenomenon this go round. Damn everything to hell.
First, it’s fair to point out that there are not just a few comments stemming from the Zach Bryan ticketing experience from people saying they sent their email to get a chance at lottery tickets, and never received a confirmation, let alone an opportunity at tickets. Whatever the catalyst was for that specific disconnect, it is certainly uncool, and it needs to be cleaned up by the Zach Bryan camp or anyone else who tries a similar approach.
But the bigger, more overwhelming concern that doesn’t just affect Zach Bryan, but every artist with surging or exceptional demand for tickets in this current market is that the issue will never be solved without also addressing the supply versus demand issue. Sure, Ticketmaster is a terrible monopoly, and bots and scalpers suck. But when you have more butts then you have seats to put them in—especially when the amount of butts that don’t get tickets exceeds the butts that do—you are still going to have these overwhelming issues that come across as catastrophe, and mad fans crashing comments sections.
Even worse for Zach Bryan and his ticketing partner AXS, now that they have completely eliminated scalpers and bots from the process, the only people left to blame are them, and fans are taking full advantage of that by leaving comments like, “All my homies hate AXS” and “‘Something in the Orange’ tells me I’ll never get to see Zach Brian live.” Some are coming to the defense of Zach Bryan, including some that didn’t secure tickets themselves. But similar to politics and college football, losing out on concert tickets is the realm of the irrational, and folks will contort themselves in all kinds of positions to justify their anger.
Yes, Ticketmaster and resellers continue to be a major issue. But supply is the biggest one in most all of these instances, and the media who wants to speak to the anger of fans has been too quick to justify that anger as opposed to offering more dispassionate and informed commentary on what is happening.
Simply put, the only way to ultimately solve this problem is to offer more supply by increasing venue size, and the amount of dates and performances in specific markets along a dynamic, sliding scale where the public dictates how many performances will happen as opposed to promoters pontificating based off of prior ticket sales data, which for surging artists like Zach Bryan, is incredibly obsolete. To the credit of the Zach Bryan camp, they have added a handful of new shows in some markets to help further satisfy the insane demand.
But the only true solution to this issue would be to do something similar to what Garth Brooks did during his arena tour after he came out of retirement, which is to set up multiple dates at the same venue during an open moment in the schedule where additional dates and even things such as matinee shows can be added until most everybody that wants a ticket can’t get one. This also helps naturally eat into the issues with ticket prices and resellers since supply undercuts secondary demand, and incidentally, lowers production costs of tours.
We knew the new Zach Bryan ticketing situation was not going to be perfect. But dammit, he tried, he did something, he did eliminate resellers from the process, and he kept prices low for the folks who did secure tickets. And yes I know, there is a significant portion of the Zach Bryan fan population that would have been more than happy to pay an exorbitant price for a ticket if that possibility was available. But the point here was to do something unprecedented but also completely necessary to try to solve this problem that both the market and the governmental regulatory arm seem to be completely confounded to address with anything more than lip service.
Zach Bryan actually made some significant inroads here. Now if everyone could get off the canard that the problem for Zach Bryan and everyone else has been solely the domain of ticket monopolies and the secondary market, perhaps we can address the supply issue as well, and ultimately solve this problem for good, or at least as close to that as possible while understanding that there will always probably be supply-demand issues when dealing with massive superstars like Taylor Swift, BTS, and apparently now, Tyler Childers, Billy Strings, and Zach Bryan.