'Hamilton' Creator Challenges Ticket Bots to a Duel

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

Most of us have resigned ourselves to never seeing “Hamilton” in this lifetime, but Lin-Manuel Miranda himself says that it doesn’t have to be that way. He wants to fight the ticket robots together so us lowly non-celebs can buy them before they’re resold for half the price of a new car.

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Writing in the New York Times, Miranda acknowledged that “the demand for tickets exceeds the number of seats in the theater,” which is a very dry way of saying that his musical about the the life of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton is probably the hottest ticket there has ever been on Broadway. When everyone famous—and we mean everyone: the Obamas, Beyonce, Liza Minnelli “in a cloud of medicinal marijuana smoke”—has seen the show, prices are bound to go up. (Yes, there’s always the $10 lottery tickets, but the odds are almost one in a thousand.)

But the ticket bots make everything worse, and that’s where Miranda thinks we can make a difference by supporting legislation that would punish brokers using them. Third-party brokers use these bots to grab up tickets in seconds before fans can buy them, and then offer them up for resale on legit sites like StubHub—but 700 percent more expensive. Scalpers are putting away nearly $240,000 each week off “Hamilton” alone, with at least $30,000 from each show going to resellers.

The bots are illegal, of course, but so profitable that people are using them anyway and then just happily paying the civil fines. The issue has reached the attention of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who conducted an investigation and then proposed a bill to create actual criminal penalties for repeat offenders, which lawmakers will soon vote on.

Miranda thinks that passing the bill and creating criminal penalties would actually deter people from using the bots and make the tickets more accessible.

So far, “Hamilton” has inspired everything from high school curriculum to a camel named Alexander Camelton. Its power is vast, so now we’ll see what happens when Miranda—overall genius, actual MacArthur genius, Pulitzer winner—asks fans to write to reps about ticket bots and “say no to this.”

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[New York Times]

Angela Chen is the morning editor at Gizmodo.

DISCUSSION

Every event on Earth that sells tickets online should institute “credit card tickets”. I’ve seen it for several concerns in my area. You buy tickets with a credit / debit card, and that card becomes your ticket. When you arrive at the venue you must present the credit / debit card that was used to purchase the tickets, they swipe the card on a hand-held reader to see how many tickets you purchased, and then you and X number of friends enter the event. It’s that simple.

No scalper in their right mind is going to stand around at the venue and swipe their credit card a hundred times to let people in.