It's a feud that's gone on for decades - the constant battle between primary sellers and scalpers looking to provide the best possible ticket deals for consumers. Mending walls will probably never be built, and the increasing stronghold secondary market resellers have on ticket inventory has now begun to bleed into more exclusive events, much to the chagrin of organizers and marketeers. The Grammy Awards, for instance, is the latest program that's been threatened with a budding ticket resale market, but this year's ceremony has cracked down on scalping with a barrage of lawsuits against resellers.
Enter Craig Banaszewski, the CEO and founder of VIP Concierge, a ticketing company that targets big-name events throughout the U.S. and allows common folk to walk amongst celebrities for a fee. Banaszewski has been the focal point of the Grammy's lawsuits after he was caught reselling fraudulent tickets to the ceremony in 2013. Ticket holders were denied upon entrance because of improper serial numbers, causing eyes to shift towards the shady business Banaszewski was carrying out.
There is a line between scalping and selling illegitimate tickets, and modern technology has become incredibly adept with weeding out fakes in recent years. Super Bowl XLIX tickets on the secondary market have seen prices skyrocket in comparison to years past, which has made anti-counterfeit technology extremely vital to the ticket and purchase security. Thermochromic ink designs and holograms have become commonplace so that any fan with a $10 black light can decipher real from fake. Events like the Grammy Awards, however, are a different animal.
Because scalping at prestigious events like the Grammys is a fairly new concept, counterfeiting hasn't been completely removed from the playing field. Banaszewki's VIP Concierge has been taken through the ringer for their battle with the ceremony and faces a series of lawsuits because of their ripple into the Grammy ticket market.
The company is accused of making references to the Grammy's trademark phrase of "Music's Biggest Night" while also infringing upon exclusive photos from past awards shows and displaying them on its website. Grammy tickets are sold and given exclusively to committee, promotional and sponsorship partners, but the ceremony believes that ticket reselling breaks trust among sponsors. Simply put, buying third-party Grammy tickets will likely place the purchaser in a high-risk situation, so it's better to just watch from the convenience of their couch.
With this year's awards taking place at Staples Center on February 8, it's likely that there will be a new wave or resellers trying to crack the show's elaborate entrance code. With lawsuits abound, however, both scalpers and third-party buyers alike should be aware of the risk they take when taking on the ticket process of the Grammys.