LCD Soundsystem frontman/mastermind James Murphy announced the group’s last show ever last week, and the resulting scramble for tickets to the final show was a showcase in scalper market domination.
Set for New York’s massive Madison Square Garden on April 2 and featuring an opening set from new wave legends Liquid Liquid, the show gave fans a final send-off to look forward to. There was just one problem: when pre-sale tickets for the event went on sale earlier this week, they were almost immediately sold out, immediately reappearing on scalper sites like Stub Hub with overly inflated prices.
Normally, you wouldn’t hear a thing from an average artist about such a practice, as it’s quite commonplace for scalpers to dominate ticket sales and make a killing off real fans. But James Murphy is no average artist, and boy is he pissed.
A series of messages on the LCD frontman’s Twitter account displays his frustration with the immediate turnaround of tickets, revealing that fans are getting the shaft. Murphy points to one ticket being sold for $1,500 (the initial price of tickets ranged between $33.50 and $49.50 before service charges).
"1500 for a single ticket? F**k you, scalpers. You are parasites. I HATE you," he posted. "i will try to figure a way out to f**k these f**kers. NO MATTER WHAT WE DO, IT IS NOT WORTH THAT KIND OF MONEY TO SEE US!"
Murphy then took to his band’s website to tackle the situation with a blistering missive on scalpers, Stub Hub and how the band plans to defeat the moneymongers. Read the brilliantly vulgar transcript below:
this here is just to say that we were more than taken aback and surprised about the speed of ticket sales for the april 2nd MSG gig, as well as the effectiveness of scalper pieces of f**king shit at getting their hands on said tickets before fans could, and it’s knocked us on our asses.
no—we didn’t have a smart paperless ticketing system in place, and no—we didn’t have the pre-sale worked out very well, but this is simply because we’ve never sold anything out so quickly in our LIVES, and certainly never sold out anything as big as MSG. i personally thought i was being bold in suggesting to our manager that we might sell it out “in 10 days”. that was my bold claim. everyone laughed at me. it’s us and liquid liquid. that’s it. we had MEETINGS and MEETINGS about the “other band” we needed to “fill the place”, as we were definitely considered to be nowhere near big enough (most of these bands were, like, way bigger than us, by the way).
we didn’t sell out hollywood bowl, and that was with both hot chip and sleigh bells. there was, i repeat, no expectation of our selling this out either. my main concerns at the time were things like ticketmaster charges—how they were going to make the tickets ridiculously costly… we never dreamed some shitbags would try to get THOUSANDS for our show. it’s insane.
but it happened. we all looked at each other in horror and sat there. i mean, aren’t you supposed to be psyched? your band sold out madison square garden! i live in nyc, and that’s THE PLACE. i saw the jackson’s victory tour there when i was a kid.
but there it was—the shit was gone, and people—not just people, but f**king proper fans—were PISSED. nancy from the band tried to buy tickets. failed. i tried. failed. our best friends—not wanting to hassle us for guestlist spots tried—failed. i bought 2 tickets to my own show for 3 times the value like an idiot to see if real tickets showed up. my family got burned.
it was, to say the least, weird.
we tried getting another day at MSG. i’d mentioned this before and most everyone kind of rolled their eyes at me. “2 madison square garden shows, dude? really?” i thought, well, just in case, you know? maybe some people would fly from other places or something. but MSG, being one of the most popular venues on the planet, was unsurprisingly booked. (for the record: just because it doesn’t look booked on the internet, doesn’t mean it’s available. just saying.)
we tried calling our lawyer about the ticket scalping. “it’s legal”. no joke. it’s f**king legal. i tramped around with friends and band getting insane. i wanted to buy some expensive tickets and then track the seller down to BEAT him. i acted stupid. i did some classic, shakespearean vain “fist shaking”, etc. i made angry tweets. (i’m wondering now what on earth could be less effective and more of a first-world spoiled idiotic move than “angry tweets”? jesus.) i read conspiracy theories about how this was some cash-grab i orchestrated. i read that there are 50,000 seats at MSG (i think our show will have 13k). i read that people had already bought flights, hotels. wanted to bring their kids. waited in the cold. i read that some people thought this was one of the reasons we were calling it quits (check). i read that this was a media stunt we planned. i read very funny comments from my friend aziz, one of which was taken seriously (that MSG had given me 30,000 tickets personally for guest list). i read that i was giving all the tickets to my “new celebrity friends” (aziz is about the closest thing i have to a “celebrity friend”, and we met at terminal 5 watching hot chip when we were, well, not very “celebrated”). i read that we should cancel the show and put the tickets up on sale in a better fashion. i read that we should NOT do that, for f**k’s sake. i read that we should go f**k ourselves.
i read a lot of stuff, waiting to hear if we could get another night at MSG, which seemed like the only option. but it failed. then i kind of sat in my house, trying not to worry for 20 minutes, and made a very, very good coffee.
i don’t know what people think about us, really. i’d love to say i don’t care, but i do. these people in my band—they are my very good friends. i love them very much. i love this band very much. everything about it. i’m very proud of it—of us, and i get defensive when people talk shit about us. i feel like we’ve been able to do something sort of special for 9 years: making music we like the way we like it. going on tour and playing, no computers or bullshit. no in-ears. a bunch of weird substitute teachers just trying to play something like the bands we loved growing up. whenever anyone said shit about us being sellouts or something, it stung, because i consider this entire thing—the band, everything—to be a communication between us and whoever is listening, and not just a thing unto itself. i remember being a fan and seeing bands, thinking “this is us. this is you playing and me/us watching” and how real that connection was, and i always wanted to honor that strange relationship with our band. so when someone felt wronged or hurt or outraged, it stung. it stung because, on some level, regardless of the “you can’t please everyone” stuff that gets rationally said to you when this shit happens, it meant that i’d failed. i’d failed to communicate. on the other hand, i’ve had my world turned upside down by a lot of amazing things people have said about us, or to us. i’ve met fans and made friends, and felt very strongly how that relationship actually works—and how we brought ourselves, each other, finally here, to where we play our last show—and biggest show ever—together, at this amazing place.
and then, this f**king ticket thing happened.
so to the point. you can’t make everyone happy, and i’m sure this will wind someone up somewhere (“but i paid $600 for one seat at MSG!!!) or seem like some shitty “plan” to someone else (“they were gonna do it all along!!! it’s all a big retirement money plan to bilk the fans!!!”) or something else that someone who theoretically likes our band thinks (why are you trying to buy a ticket?? how could you even listen to a band that you think is capable of some of this shit!??) but we’ve come up with the best solution i can think of, as quickly as possible so as to deflate the market for those scalping scumf**ks.
we’re going to play 4 shows at terminal 5 in nyc leading up to the MSG show, and they will include most if not all of the songs we play at MSG. the farewell run-up to the last dance. it’ll be the 28th, 29th, 30th and 31st of march. OBVIOUSLY we’re going to look seriously at the way we sell these tickets. not “paperless, (i’ve been advised that the “paperless” thing is apparently now ILLEGAL in NY… seriously—don’t ask me) but there are some ideas floating around that could be just as effective (though it’ll take a minute to get folks in the door.) we’ll announce the shows officially early in the week, and tickets will be on sale soon after. we’re announcing all the shows at once, and if they don’t sell out, i don’t care. i just want to give people who actually want to see us a chance to see us. for a reasonable ticket price. and i want to drop the price of the MSG tickets being sold by piece of shit scalpers.
oh—and a small thing to scalpers: “it’s legal” is what people say when they don’t have ethics. the law is there to set the LIMIT of what is PUNISHABLE (aka where the state needs to intervene) but we are supposed to have ethics, and that should be the primary guiding force in our actions, you f**king f**k.
And to everyone else: thank you. you rule. don’t let the shitbags win.
i feel like conan o’brien.