In News that didn’t shock me a bit, The Dead announced that more tickets will be released for The Fare Thee Well Shows at Soldier Field. If you’ve been following the blog, I’ve been talking about this for months. The announcement came via their website and was probably a poor idea. Why make an announcement 5 days before the onsale??? Just to be sure it circulates enough for every ticket agent out there to catch the news… Why not just release the tickets without saying a thing? All of a sudden, BAM! Tickets are on TicketMaster. Why not make the announcement the minute they’re released giving the people that follow the band and their social media avenues the heads up on the release? Why instead make an announcement 5 days prior to the release, lining up every single broker and person that has tickets already, as well as those that don’t, at the starting line all at once? Am I the only one that thinks this idea leaves a lot to be desired?

I’ll give you the answer now… Peter Shapiro is a genius. Say what you want about him or the event but this has been a masterful job of promoting. The tricks used are not new but apparently unknown by the vast majority of the fan base. The first batch of tickets that were released were all of the less desirable seats that most commonly go unpurchased or at the very least, purchased last. All of the shit seats are already Sold, GENIUS move number 1!!! Not only that, they only sold a percentage of the total seats available which created the illusion of a scarcity of tickets. What would Garcia say? He already said it, “Cats in the limelight, Feels like it’s all right! Everybody wants something they might not get!” Shapiro took that advice to heart. He created the sensation of lack and scarcity that not only drove demand among Dead Heads but drove every segment of the media right into his lap. Look at us!!! We sold out in 10 seconds! Brilliant Marketing! All of a sudden the demand was so inflated that everyone imaginable wanted a piece of the Grateful Dead Pie. Every news organization in the country has run articles on the demand for tickets, Genius move #2!

While tickets on the secondary market swelled up, those dumb enough to buy them 5 months in advance were spending a fortune purchasing seats with absolutely no view behind the stage. There’s a few things that even Shapiro hates to see. Fans that are extremely disappointed and an out of control secondary market. He always does what he can to limit scalping as much as possible. While the iron was red hot, they struck up 2 shows in California and put nearly every available seat on sale through Internet Mail Order. That was a hit as the internet mail order completely sold out. All along, The Official Home of Unofficial Grateful Dead News was reporting that there are TONS of unreleased tickets. I ran into a few people that thought I was nuts but that’s OK, they’re probably right… So here we are, waiting patiently until Friday as well as hitting TicketMaster every half hour until then(Just in case). Will Friday be the last release? If I had to guess, the next batch of less desirable seats will be put out on TicketMaster with a handful of decent seats. Why do that? Because a lot of people with tickets will absolutely buy tickets again if they have a chance to upgrade their seats from behind the stage to anywhere in front of it. In another couple of weeks people will gladly buy again if they can move from 300 level seats to 100 level seats. Garcia might say, “Strategy was a strength, not disaster…” Genius MOVE #3!!!

Why tell everybody 5 days in advance of a ticket release? This one is a no brainer too! It ensures the next wave of seats will sell out just as fast as the first. In order to keep interest as high as possible, the sense of extremely limited availability has to be maintained. If there was only a small number of tickets being released, why announce that to EVERYBODY 5 days in advance? With a fresh wave of euphoria for those who get their tickets, there will also be a fresh wave of aggravation for those that don’t. The most important thing that will happen is EVERYBODY will be talking about it. The more chatter, the better. Drives all attention back to the big event. If I had to guess, I’d say a minimum of 20% to 30% of the tickets are still available. I don’t think this will be the last release either. I think tickets will continue to be released in the weeks to come right up to day of show! It happens at the Cap for every big show. GENIUS Move #4!!!

When all is said and done, everybody willing to pay face for a ticket will get in. For many, they’ve spent months shitting on each and every day of their lives worrying about a problem that was never a problem. The strategy isn’t a new one at all but it was played perfectly. Like a magic trick that’s been around forever, the shit still works. The collapse of the secondary market is already beginning and following the arrival of mail order tickets plus the additional tickets being released, tix will start circulating in big numbers. As of now, on StubHub, tickets for Santa Clara are at or below face in most sections. I can just hear the poor fools in the lots and hotels in Chicago trying to sell their extras by saying, “I didn’t pay face brah, I got these on StubHub and I paid $(insert crazy price that is an inflated lie here).” Nobody will be buying and the Good Seats will start getting released by Shapiro at the same time through more week and day of show releases. It will destroy the greed of people that thought they’d make some money back on them in Chicago. “Oooohh Oooooh ooh ooh my plans didn’t work out like I thought. I made my trap for you but it seems like I got caught.” Peter Shapiro has done a great job playing this one and in the end, all is forgiven because we’re ALL getting in!!!

Then again, maybe I don’t know shit… I’ve also already mentioned, nobody has fewer connections than I do. Keep an eye on it and watch as it unfolds! It’s extremely exciting to see everybody receiving their tickets in the mail this week! Amazing that we’re only a month out!!! Can’t wait to see y’all in Chicago! If you don’t have tix, stop worrying about it! There’s PLENTY!!! Love You Long Time!!!

Dead To The Core,
Dean Sottile (pronounced So Tilly)

Preparation and History of The Fare Thee Well Events and Coverage!

FB Group at The Official Home of Unofficial Grateful Dead News

32 thoughts on “Ticket Releases and The Shapiro Strategy

      1. Stephen

        I get what Dean is saying, but I think it ignores that fact that approximately $40,000,000 in cash was set on one day (Jan 20th, 2015) via money orders to GDTSTOO; that’s real demand, not inflated or imagined. – Peace!

    1. venus rising

      How do you know all of this? Amazing!! The mail-order announcement was made on a mercury retrograde and went forward the day you could mail your envelopes. Now during the retrograde period everyone is finding out what a mercury retrograde is all about. It was written in the stars my friends.

  1. Wendy

    Been patiently awaiting the gdtstoo tix….so glad to hear that they mailed them in the air…indeedy! Think Shapiro knows what he’s doing and give him credit despite the negativity. For the possibility of more true fans to score tix is righteous….settle down easy…and yea, they’ll b dancin in the streets!

  2. Mikey Dread

    Honestly I think it sucks that they intentionally withheld up to 30% of available tickets when they had so many mail order requests they supposedly couldn’t fill. First off, they kept people waiting and tied up their funds for a long time. Secondly, many who got rejected waited even longer for a return of those funds, some of which still hadn’t received a rejection letter or refund before the public onsale date. So they had to pony up a few extra grand not knowing if they were getting their mail order filled and not having their money orders back. Now all of a sudden we find out they could have filled another 30% of die hard fans pre paid requests? Lame O! Also just as lame was adding 2 shows at the last second. I know many California heads who had they known there would be shows in California, would not have spent a fortune on flights and rooms in Chicago, thus opening up a greater opportunity for others in the mid west and east coast to score Chicago tickets. Those “extras” should have gone to the thousands who send in envelopes full of money orders and waited patiently, only to be informed it was “sold out”. I think it’s brillian alright, but in a scam artists bait and switch point of perspective. The only rerelease of tickets I think is for good intentions are those being auctioned off for charity.

    1. ruggerid

      I agree with this 100% If it was a marketing strategy to do things the way they did, then that is in very poor taste.

      Although I can’t believe this was a marketing strategy – I actually think they were just incompetent. Selling out like it did was not as intentional as it seems. Remember they thought they had to add Trey to get more people to the show.

      Was it Robert Dinero in Casino that said something like “either you were in on it or too incompetent to fix it…either way get the fuck out!”

      That is how I feel about this entire process…and I say this having being picked for tix while in limbo for 2 weeks.

  3. Ur Right

    ive been saying this exact thing all along. They with held tons of tickets for industry insiders and once those orders were filled they now have to release the rest and get this thing completely sold out. With mail orders and the industry insider tickets still not shipped nor in hand AND they don’t tell you what seats you purchased, it’s impossible to post on stub hub or other ticket broker sites. it keeps demand high and supply low. Truly genius strategy to sell 80k tickets per night. He killed it on this one

  4. RexKramer

    Agreed on your thoughts here. It seems as if most, if not all, of the people who ‘scored’ tickets through the initial TM release were for tickets behind the stage seats or up in the nosebleeds. I have to imagine that there are quite a few good seats left and some of us will get lucky as the dates approach. Unfortunately with it being a holiday weekend in Chicago where many folks want to go to multiple nights, I think the secondary market will remain relatively strong, but well below the outrageous prices we have seen on stubhub thus far.

  5. Bubsy 4200

    Good bad marketing ploy way to much thought and negativity surrounding these shows, I could careless I along with the family will be in all 3 nights, that’s where the bullshit stops 4 myself

    Huge fan of all your work thus far , keep em commin, northeast usa

  6. Jack Straw

    It appears now that mail order ticket seats have been downgraded. $199 seats are 200&300 level, $99 seats 400 level. No doubt they did this to free up more expensive seats for TM sale today to get twice the revenue. This is a complete travesty and the band should be held accountable.

  7. Set Up Like A Bowling Pin

    If you call completely cynical market manipulation of long time fans “genius,” then yeah, it was genius. But from another angle it seems maybe the producers have as much empathy for the Deadhead community as Chevron or Coke has for their consumers.

  8. LDK

    My issue with Shapiro et al isn’t this marketing strategy. More power to him if he can manipulate the media into treating these shows as if Jerry had arisen.

    My issue is the sleazy way they’ve priced everything, screwing the mail order buyers. I’m not talking about the cost of the tickets generally. $200 isn’t outrageous for an A-list act any more. See what the Stones are getting?

    My issue is that I purchased tickets thru GDTSTOO at the top price, $215. Yay me, I got thru mail order so I shouldn’t bitch, right? Wrong. The seating chart that was made available on showed where the $215 seats were. Back of the field and what is known in the industry and “friends and family” seats – those reserved seats closest to the stage. As we know, they made the back of the floor GA, but at the same price it would have been for reserved seats, while the GA Pit is $100 less. And the reserved seats at $215 go all the way up to the 300 level of the stadium.

    Take your pick what you want to call it – false advertising, bait and switch, whatever – but the bottom line is that it was probably illegal, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Shapiro, Madison House, AEG, Weir, Lesh, Kreutzmann and Hart named in a lawsuit before this is all said and done.

    1. JK

      Regarding the ticket mess with Soldier Field, I mail ordered 2 tix for each show , and was happily told my order was going to be filled. As suggested by GDTSTOO, I sent in three sets of US Postal money orders for each ticket/show request plus one for Fed Ex delivery, writer’s cramp filling out TEN money orders! As far as I know, all were cashed, (it costs $6.50 each to trace an order with the Post Office). I am still waiting to receive the extra monies plus receive a partial refund (and my six commemorative tickets, 6 x $10 but not the $, I want my tickets) . I think
      some sort of statement to reassure us that this is actually happening would be in order.
      So, has anybody heard anything?
      Elmira, NY

      1. gratefuldean Post author

        They made a statement last week on the gd50 site. It was kinda like, “Sorry for the delay, everything has been processed, checks will go out soon”.
        You will get your refund as well as your tickets back. Let me know once they arrive if there are any other problems. I don’t expect there to be.

  9. Catfish John

    Hey Dean,

    Love your posts, and I’m getting stoked for the FTW shows. (Apologies) I know you are not customer service, but wondering if you have any alternate means to connect w/ Elvis at GDTS too?!?!

    I received a GDTS confirmation email in Feb, didn’t get my money orders returned, but (so far) have not yet received my tix for Chicago. Despite a few emails to GDTS Too and Elvis, I haven’t heard anything back yet.

    Needless to say I’m freaking out a bit…any help you can provide to put me in touch w/ the team at GDTS too would be appreciated.

    Many thanks and enjoy the shows this summer!

    Gratefully Yours,

    Catfish John

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