House of Blues Concerts already facing ticket-scalping allegations
in the Denver area also distributed prime tickets for its own shows
to brokers in Atlanta, Dallas, San Diego and other cities, The Denver
Post reported Sunday.
The original allegations of ticket scalping had raised the ire of Pearl
Jam and the Backstreet Boys, whose Denver-area concerts may have been
affected by illegal sales.
The newspaper, quoting anonymous sources, reported that officials of the
concert-promotion company even wrote instructions on House of Blues
letterhead as to how those tickets were to be resold.
Larry Solters a spokesperson for House of Blues Entertainment,
which runs House of Blues Concerts said Monday (Dec. 20) that the
company did not have a statement other than one the Post printed
from company president and CEO Greg Trojan in its story on Sunday.
"Based on recent Denver Post revelations, we are initiating a
comprehensive review of our newly acquired concerts division's ticket
subscription programs," Trojan had said in the statement. "It is House
of Blues philosophy and mandate to be consumer-friendly and discourage
the reselling of tickets on any level."
The selling of tickets directly to brokers would not violate any laws,
the newspaper reported. While ticket brokering is illegal in Denver, it
is legal in surrounding areas.
The Post first reported the promoter's possible dealings with
ticket brokers in the Denver area on Dec. 5. Among the tickets the company
is alleged to have sold to brokers who then, presumably, resold
them to fans at inflated prices were prime seats for a recent Pearl
Jam show in Denver. Pearl Jam, whose catalog of soaring rock songs includes
"Brain of J" (RealAudio
excerpt), announced last week they would no longer work with House
"We don't do business with anyone who scalps," Pearl Jam manager Kelly
Curtis said in a statement Friday.
Seth Hurwitz, who runs I.M.P., a concert-promotion business in the Washington,
D.C., area, said Monday he had a hard time believing a company with as
wide a reputation as House of Blues would endorse such dealings with brokers.
"Nobody's that stupid," Hurwitz said.
He said he has heard about similar practices for years but has never sold
tickets directly to brokers himself, because of personal ethics.
"If you are [ethical], then you should play by the rules," he said.
Dave Werlin, who runs Great Northeast Productions in Boston, said he was
unaware of the House of Blues allegations but added that he would hold
in disdain any promoters who made tickets available for the resale market.
"It makes this business more and more elitist, as less people can participate,"
said Werlin, whose company is promoting Phish's two-day festival Dec.
3031 at the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation in Florida.
"In the short run, it's probably very healthy for the few people who would
participate in this."
Last month the Backstreet Boys claimed 1,200 promoter-controlled seats
for their Oct. 31 show at the Pepsi Center in Denver wound up in scalpers'
hands. They asked House of Blues, who promoted the show, to donate $75,000
to a Columbine High School-related charity as compensation. At that time,
a House of Blues spokesperson said the company did not knowingly sell
tickets to brokers.