Why wouldn't the performers just raise the price to what fans end up paying anyway? Then there is no margin for the scalpers. The pop stars have long wanted the publicity of the instant sell out and also might not have wanted to alienate their fans with high prices.
But now, it seems like there are ways to verify who the "real" fans are online who buy early. They get discounts and it prevents the scalpers from buying up large blocks of tickets early on.
See Why Empty Seats at Taylor Swift’s Concerts Are Good for Business: Pricier tickets aimed at squeezing out scalpers and delivering higher returns to promoters are producing fewer instant sellouts by Anne Steele of The WSJ. The new policy seems to be working because Swift has already made 15% more than her last tour. Excerpts:
"The strategy, which could reset how tickets to high-profile tours are sold, is to use aggressive pricing to limit the ability of scalpers to purchase tickets and later sell them at higher prices. In addition, a program from Ticketmaster is aimed at giving passionate fans earlier access to tickets at discounted prices."See a post from 2009 Miley Cyrus vs. The Ticket Scalpers.
"For the current Taylor Swift tour, would-be concertgoers were encouraged to register for Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan program months before tickets went on sale. They could boost their standing in the ticket queue by watching music videos and purchasing the “Reputation” album or merchandise. Users then received codes that allowed them the chance to purchase discounted tickets over a six-day presale period."
"Half of Ms. Swift’s tickets were allocated to the Verified Fan presale. Ticketmaster said soon after the presale that only 3% of those tickets had made their way to secondary websites such as StubHub, compared with an average of 30% to 50% of tickets for high-demand artists. It is unclear whether that statistic has held up; several of the dates now have upward of 3,000 tickets listed on StubHub."
"many artists have been hesitant to raise prices for fear of appearing greedy.
With tickets priced closer to their market value, scalpers—who not only profit but also absorb the risk on tickets that go unsold—have less incentive to try to flip them."
"with artists pricing closer to market value, he said, the fan experience is little changed compared with what it might have been buying tickets on the secondary market."