The musical Hamilton has just raised its premium ticket prices to $849 in New York and expects them to be $500-$600 for the touring company in Chicago. At first glance, it seems outrageous for a seat at a musical. I was disappointed that the producers were trying to capitalize on the great demand for the seats and gouge people at that price.
But then I read an interview with Jeffrey Seller, the lead producer of Hamilton, who said that he set the price based on what people are charging in the secondary market. "The average price in New York is $1000 for a $199 ticket," he said. "That's $800 that does not go to the creators of the play or the employees of the play. That is just not fair, and it does not help the theatre. Scalping is not illegal. Raising our premium prices is the only tool I have to ensure that the dollars being expended on the play are going to the people who created the play."
When you look at it like that, it seems that $849 is a fair price. And if someone is going to get $849 in revenue from ticket sales, I'd much rather have it be the geniuses who are involved with the show than some scalper.
A colleague of mine always counsels people to think about the motivations of others, and the Hamilton ticket prices are a good example of this. If you take the time to understand what is driving the behavior, then it makes more sense.
Before you think others are out to scalp you, take a moment to consider why. You may not agree with them, but at least you have the ticket to understanding.