Rapper Travis Scott’s most recent album, UTOPIA, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. Two of his songs have two billion plays on Spotify. He is, by any measure, one of the most popular rappers in the world. So maybe it’s not surprising that tickets for his upcoming tour sold out. Check StubHub right now, though, and you can find thousands of tickets to “sold out” shows in many cities for between $10 and $20, far below the face value for his cheapest tickets at $61.50 before fees when they first went on sale.
In ticket reseller lingo, Scott’s tour is a “bloodbath,” the result of overzealous brokers and noobs “overbuying” tickets based on a miscalculation of the likely value of his tickets on the secondary market. Many brokers now stand to lose a lot of money on Scott’s shows. At least part of this buying frenzy was fueled by a bet placed by PFS Buyers Club, a credit card maxing site I wrote about earlier this week that has recently pivoted from buying rare coins to buying concert tickets. PFS told its members to buy as many tickets to Scott’s shows as possible, according to emails viewed by 404 Media. PFS itself stands to lose more than $1 million on Travis Scott alone when all is said and done, it told members.
Members of the club were promised by PFS that they would be reimbursed for any tickets they bought and would additionally get a $25 per ticket commission. Hundreds of members bought thousands of tickets, most of which are now selling for far below face value. I spoke to people who are currently floating tens of thousands of dollars on their credit cards for Travis Scott tickets they have no idea what to do with. PFS has been telling angry members that it could go out of business because of how much money it stands to lose from the bet. (It's worth mentioning that this is Scott's first tour since the Astroworld tragedy in which 10 people died and hundreds were injured.)
"Truthfully, I had never heard of Travis Scott before"
The entire situation, which has become a complicated mess, sheds light on a little-known segment of the ticket broker industry, where resellers partner with credit card “buyers clubs” to obtain tickets. The fiasco also highlights the risks associated with ticket reselling and shows how Ticketmaster profits from the secondary market, helping it sell out artists even before their ability to sell out venues is guaranteed, and passing that risk on to resellers.