Waiting alone in a local Starbucks, Andrew Meepos ’13 sips a coffee as he waits to meet a complete stranger. Strewn across the table in front of him are concert tickets that he has sold over the internet. Meepos uses Craigslist or Stubhub to re-sell tickets to concerts. He spends a couple of hours each day switching between music sites on his laptop and researching what events are going on in Los Angeles.
He gets update emails from every major concert venue in the area and from promoters such as Golden Boy Promotions and Insomniac Promotions, which sometimes even gives him access to presales.
He has to be constantly aware because concerts sell out quickly and the ones that sell out are also the ones that allow him to make a profit.
“Nobody really likes the word scalping,” Meepos said. “It has a bit of a negative connotation. I prefer ticket re-selling.”
According to seatgeek.com, “It is illegal to sell tickets that were bought for the purpose of resale for more than face value on the grounds of the event venue without the written permission of the event sponsor,” but other than that, re-selling tickets at an elevated price is completely legal.
Meepos began his business in July 2011 when he saw some tickets to the Lollapalooza music festival up for giveaway in a trivia competition. Once he figured out that the questions were the same every time and just rearranged themselves, he took the quiz again and again, made sure he was the highest scorer in the world and subsequently won the competition two days in a row. He won four free tickets that he sold for $1,200.
“Andrew has always liked money and what money can do for you so he was brainstorming a way to make money in an area he loves,” his uncle, Accountant Robert Meepos said. “He realized that he had to be able to predict the market. He’s been right about 95 percent of the time. He’s using his acumen and his understanding of the music business and the ticket business to make money. He’s already paid back what he borrowed from his dad to get started. He makes profit.”
Meepos has never had to sell for less than face value after what he described as “a bit of a disaster,” buying Snoop Dogg tickets when every rap fan in LA was at the Staples Center seeing Jay-Z and Kanye West.
Meepos prefers to use Craigslist rather than Stubhub because Stubhub has a 15 percent transaction fee.
“All Craigslist does is let people communicate with each other,” Meepos said. “It lets me meet the person locally and get cash for it. It lets them get the ticket at a lower price and lets me make more money so it’s kind of a win-win.”
With an iPhone at his ear and his hands on a keyboard, Meepos tries to buy tickets as soon as they are available. If they are selling out he will buy a pair both digitally and over the phone.
He immediately posts the tickets on Stubhub and on Craigslist, the loweston Stubhub.
Though at first Meepos said his parents were nervous he might meet a “Craigslist killer,” rather than a person trying to buy some tickets, he said they don’t worry anymore.
“I found a good system which is basically meeting someone inside a Starbucks,” Meepos said. “There’s safety since there are lots of people and my car is parked nearby so I never need to walk through dark alleys.”
Previous client Nancy Mares said that she has maintained a client relationship with Meepos and would probably purchase directly from him in the future.
“Upon meeting Andrew at work, I was shocked at how young he is,” Mares said. “The transaction was smooth and simple. We exchanged my cash for his print out tickets and about an hour later he sent me an email as promised.”
Meepos often buys tickets for himself as well as for re-sale and admits that for the most part his musical taste dictates the concerts he buys for. He attended around 23 concerts this summer and said that when he buys tickets for his friends it’s not for profit.
“I don’t want to be scalping my friends,” Meepos said. “That’s not cool. I don’t want to be inflating prices for them.”
He mostly sells for indie-rock concerts saying it is a good market because demand is high and prices are relatively low depending, on the venue and the band.
He has been branching out to more expensive tickets for mainstream bands such as Coldplay and Red Hot Chili Peppers, which reap a greater profit but are a riskier investment.
He made around $400 on recent Coldplay sales.
Meepos has a personal checking account where he puts all of his profits although most of it is tied up in buying more tickets. He has made over $5,000., he has decided to look into stocks since interest rates are so low right now.
“It is very possible to come up with an idea when you are young and then make it into a multi-million dollar company,” Robert Meepos said.