TODAY   |  July 02, 2013

Rossen Reports: The truth behind sold-out concerts

If you’ve ever tried to buy tickets to a favorite artist’s concert only to find it sold out almost immediately, you are not alone. NBC’s Jeff Rossen reports on how up to 77 percent or more of the tickets to the hottest concerts are being reserved for special groups before sales open to the public.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> world of concert ticket sales. when you try to buy seats from our favorite artists, do you wonder why they sell out so quickly? the answer may surprise you. jeff rossen is here to explain. good morning. can't wait to hear this.

>> we all are effected by this. you're a huge maroon 5 fan, or pink, maybe your kids want to see justin bieber . either way , the minute tickets go on sale, you go online credit card ready and you're shut out. entire arenas sold out like that. this morning, we're pulling back the curtain to show you who is really getting those seats. they're the hottest tickets in town, from bieber , to pink, to one direction. seeing one direction would be a dream come true. for this girl, 11-year-old jayden. so her mom tried to surprise her going online to buy tickets the second they went on sale.

>> 10:00 claimed i pressed for first available. sorry no tickets available. it's become impossible for the average person to get tickets.

>> so what's really going on here? john potter is with a fans rights group funded by stub hub and what he found may stun you. by the time tickets officially go on sale, most may already be unavailable.

>> a huge percentage of the tickets will have already been sold before you have a chance to buy the two they want.

>> who is getting them?

>> the high end credit card holders that get the e-mail, they're giving them to the fan club and many go to the artist or to the venue.

>> and he says the numbers for many concerts are stragerring. for a one direction show in new jersey this month box office records show at least 64% of tickets were held back or sold to special groups . unavailable to everybody else. then there's maroon 5 . at a recent concert, same thing. 64% earmarked for vips or special groups and even higher for pink. for her concert at new jersey's izod center , at least 77% of tickets were reserved for those special groups . the rest of the public had to fight for what's left. but the most dramatic example is justin bieber . at his concert in fresno, california, 92% of tickets went to special groups or were held back entirely. that means of more than 12,000 seats, only 940 were set aside for the official sale date.

>> this is very secretive. there's only a few people in the room when they decide who is going to get tickets. they don't want us to know that artists are holding back tickets and venues are holding back tickets.

>> none of the artists would comment for the story but live nation told us free sales are open to the public and fans can participate in easily accessible ways. but critics say they're not being open with the fans.

>> we're going to get shafted as usual.

>> the new jersey congressman says this industry is out of control. now he has drafted legislation for government oversight .

>> what i want is that people will noah head of time how many tickets are going to go on sale for the general public .

>> you want transparency.

>> that's what we don't have right now is transparency.

>> but tour promoters are fighting it saying being more open would only help the scalpers. the congressman is trying to stop them too. making it illegal for professional scalpers to use high-tech computer programs to snatch up hundreds of tickets.

>> thousands of tickets i don't have a chance at and you don't have a chance at.

>> i have to buy it from a jacked up price from the broker.

>> that's what's happening. some protection.

>> a lot of fans will be furious or if you're a bieber fan, heart broken. what are you supposed to do?

>> we've had a lot of e-mails from viewers complaining about the story so that's why we ended up doing it. we have ways you can increase your odds of getting a ticket. if you want to see an artist in concert join their fan club . it's usually free to sign up online. that gives you access to some of the held back tickets and puts you in a special group. be flexible. wait until the day before the show to buy the seats. two reasons, some of those held back tickets that aren't used may end up back at the box office and for sale last minute and if you're looking online the prices drop close to the show as brokers try to unload the tickets. the prices go down. if you're flexible, wait.

>> this story idea came from viewers. so write in if you have a story idea.

>> love it.