'Hamilton' Creator Lin-Manuel Miranda Pens Op-Ed Criticizing Use of Ticket Bots on Broadway
"The extra money doesn’t provide a better concert or show experience for you, the fan," he wrote in The New York Times. "Instead, it goes straight to the broker’s bottom line."
Lin-Manuel Miranda has had enough of Hamilton's high prices.
The musical's creator and star penned a New York Times op-ed against the use of illegal bots to buy tickets to live events and resell them at much higher prices on legal sites like StubHub.
Citing New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman's recent investigation, Miranda explained that tens of thousands of tickets to theater, concerts and sporting events in New York are acquired each year using automated software, often seconds after the tickets become available. These third-party vendors then mark up the prices, sometimes by more than 1,000 percent, yielding millions of dollars in profits per year.
"Tickets are taken out of circulation, punishing people who can’t afford to pay more than face value," he wrote. "The extra money doesn’t provide a better concert or show experience for you, the fan. Instead, it goes straight to the broker’s bottom line."
The use of ticket bots is currently illegal under New York law, but the resulting civil penalties and fines aren't enough to discourage business. However, Governor Andrew Cuomo might soon be able to enforce criminal penalties, including imprisonment, for repeat offenders, thanks to various bills addressing the issue.
"I want the thousands of tickets for shows, concerts and sporting events that are now purchased by bots and resold at higher prices to go into the general market so that you have a chance to get them. I want theatergoers to be able to purchase tickets at face value at our box office and our website, rather than on a resale platform. And if you do go to a resale platform for tickets, I want the markup you must pay to be clearly displayed," he urged. "Most of all, I want you to be there when the curtain goes up. You shouldn’t have to fight robots just to see something you love."
Miranda's op-ed arrived as a recent THR report of his impending Hamilton exit triggered an even higher markup on resale sites, with some seats listed at nearly $10K. The creator and star of the hip-hop musical, which features a diverse cast as America's founding fathers, has enacted various initiatives to promote widespread accessibility, including weekly all-student matinees and $10 tickets via lottery, the lowest around town for any major show.
However, as the musical's popularity (and resulting resale ticket prices) have soared, some Broadway pundits have quietly noted that the diversity of its audience has dropped — a discrepancy that seems out of sync with the spirit of a show about reclaiming America's history as a story that breaks down racial boundaries.
David Rooney contributed to this report.