Prince halts Europe tickets over inflated resale prices

Prince (above) abruptly postponed ticket sales for a highly anticipated European tour.
Prince (above) abruptly postponed ticket sales for a highly anticipated European tour.AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - Prince on Friday abruptly postponed ticket sales for a highly anticipated European tour, outraged that scalpers were already advertising vastly inflated resale prices.

Prince, who in recent years has preferred to announce concerts at the last minute, become slightly more traditional by revealing through press interviews an upcoming tour in which he will play unaccompanied on piano for the first time since becoming famous.

The Minneapolis superstar called off sales moments before tickets were set to go online Friday in Austria and Britain.

Twitter account @Prince3EG, which the musician has used with his all-female back-up band, Third Eye Girl, to promote last-minute shows, aired complaints from fans that resellers had already been advertising tickets in the thousands of dollars even though they were yet to go on sale.

#Prince3EG posted a photo of a vulture with the caption: "Multiple choice: A. Scavenger. B. Vulture. C. Tout. D. All of the above."

The account retweeted users who sought a return of the last-minute "Hit and Run" shows, calling the approach better suited to true Prince fans.

"Maybe you should build a small hotel next to Paisley Park and sell reservations and tickets for a show!" said a retweeted comment by Cheryl Frey, who was referring to the singer's mythic studio on the outskirts of Minneapolis.

Prince did not immediately announce a new plan to sell tickets for his "Piano and a Microphone" tour, which is scheduled to start Nov 24 in Vienna and is expected to go to 11 countries, although not all dates have been announced.

Concert venues in recent years have stepped up checks to weed out resellers, notably by asking buyers to type security messages to ensure they are not robots buying in bulk.

Yet ticket vendors also increasingly link directly to resale sites, hoping to keep the business out of the hands of the black market.

Prince is known for challenging music industry conventions.

In the 1990s, he changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol and wrote "slave" on his cheek to protest his label's control over his work and has since experimented with a series of more independent music ventures.

For his upcoming tour, Prince announced the concerts by inviting a handful of European journalists to Paisley Park for a private concert.

Prince - best known for his dexterity at guitar, his soaring falsetto voice and his elegant dance moves - said he wanted to get out of his comfort zone through the nakedness of the piano.