Archive for the 'Music' Category

Live Hate

I haven’t really been paying attention to the whole thing, but apparently Bob Geldof is pissed that people are selling Live 8 tickets on eBay:

It is filthy money made on the back of the poorest people on the planet — stick it where it belongs.

Funny, my impression was that Geldof is trying to resurrect his career and record sales on the backs of the poorest people on the planet, but maybe that’s just me.

Of course, it’s silly to claim that eBay or anybody else is making money “on the back of the poorest people on the planet”; I don’t think anybody was planning on sticking up the Red Cross to bid on a ticket.

Now, as I understand it, the tickets were randomly allocated amongst 2 million people who sent in an SMS (at £1.50 a pop) for the opportunity, which meant Geldof & Co. picked up a cool $5 million in revenue. Which, given that the whole Live 8 thing is supposedly about poor people in Africa, you would think would be donated to some Africa-related charity, right? Wrong. Half goes to poor kids in England, and half goes to “cover the cost of staging the concerts” (read: paying the bands). So Live 8, whose “global symbol” is the white band (fittingly, as Colby Cosh points out), wasn’t planning on doing anything for poor people in Africa, other than giving a bunch of aging rockers a chance to feel like they “made a difference”. But scalping tickets on eBay is “filthy money made on the back of the poorest people on the planet”.

Like Joshua Holmes, my question is this: Why the hell didn’t Geldof sell off the Live 8 tickets in the first place (at, say, $100/ticket) rather than practically giving them away?

(150,000 tickets) x ($100/ticket) – ($5 million for various white people) = $10,000,000 surplus

(or, as stated elsewhere: “Clueless, Bob. If you don’t capture the consumer surplus, some other economic actor will.”)

Now, I know the poor Africans are way too noble to be caught up in the bourgeois petty materialism of the West, but don’t you think they’d rather have $10,000,000 than Bob Geldof bitching about “profiteering“?

Update: Be sure to check out Colby Cosh’s National Post column today.