Thursday, June 21, 2018
Bringing Sanity to the K-pop Secondary Ticketing Market
Reselling Tickets
Bringing Sanity to the K-pop Secondary Ticketing Market
  • By Matthew Weigand
  • September 7, 2017, 11:00
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StubHub's Korean-language web portal
StubHub's Korean-language web portal


The growing popularity of Korean pop music also carries with it another growing phenomenon -- an increasing frustration with the ticket-buying process. One can easily find dozens of English-language Q-and- A sites on the Internet where someone is asking how to buy tickets to events in Korea alongside complaints of no tickets being available.

Some answers to these questions contain detailed instructions, complete with a small primer on the Korean language, in order to aid interested English speakers in their quest to get a ticket to the next G-Dragon concert. But even if the instructions are followed to the letter, one can soon discover an ugly hidden truth about concerts in Korea – the tickets are often all already sold out from their primary source, and only available through less reputable channels.

While the secondary ticketing market is quite well-developed in the U.S., for instance, its evolution in South Korea has been much shorter. Some of the more famous ticket reseller Web sites are still rife with scams and unhappy customers. For instance, a common practice for ticket sellers is to list one ticket multiple times on one or more Web sites at different prices, and then only honor the highest sale that they get, while canceling all the other of their supposed “sales” at the last minute, leaving most of their supposed customers without a way to see the concert they wanted to.

But StubHub is trying to change all that. A subsidiary of eBay, which has had a presence in the Korean market for some time, StubHub has come to the country in 2017 to offer a “transparent and responsible” secondary ticketing market, according to Kevin Cho, country manager for StubHub Korea. When asked how StubHub does things differently, Kevin said, “All purchases on our platform are backed by our market-leading FanProtect Guarantee, which provides fans with the assurance that they will get the tickets they ordered in time and that they will be valid for entry. In the rare instance where something goes wrong, StubHub will provide comparable or better replacement tickets or, at the very least, a full refund.”

There is some talk in the Korean government to do something legislatively to prohibit secondary ticketing sales, but that option is not favored by many the ticket sellers or buyers. Many Kpop groups judge the popularity of their upcoming shows by how actively their tickets are being sold in the secondary marketplace, and would lose a barometer of fan love if it went away. Also, for those who do find the rare ticket they’re looking for on the secondary sites at the last minute, the industry can be a godsend.

Understandably, StubHub also supports the secondary ticketing market. “We believe that fans should be given the choice about what they choose to do with tickets, which they rightfully own,” Kevin argued. He also said, “StubHub also supports legislation that makes it easy and safe for fans to freely transfer, give away or resell tickets. We have actively supported legislation in many US states (New York, Connecticut, Virginia) that makes this easy for fans.” This free market approach has been successful for StubHub and its customers alike in 48 different countries that the company operates in. It has spread in influence and popularity quickly after eBay’s acquisition of Ticketbis in May 2016, and has brought its own safer and more secure secondary ticket market to Korea since January of this year.

With its commitment to transparency in secondary ticket sales and its international, multilingual experience, StubHub might be just what the local ticket sales market needs to offer less frustration and more, well, Kpop.