"I know [Hubbard] thinks something has to be done, and we're heading in that direction," he says. "But it's transparency versus greed, and greed often ends up winning out."
A move towards transparency won't help the thousands of shut out Bieber fans, many of whom appear to be clueless about individual Bieber presales.
One guy who wasn't clueless? Blake Lawrence, a 27-year-old ticket broker living in Sacramento, Calif., who snagged hundreds of Bieber tickets across his 49 scheduled North American shows.
Far from a sketchy guy standing on a street corner, Lawrence's one-man shop is an incorporated business. He pays taxes and spends up to 60 hours a week working on his company.
A tour as hot as Bieber's is rare—Lawrence says less than 1 percent of concerts that go on sale by Ticketmaster will yield profits.
"I was buying in every presale. That's what a lot of people missed on—I was buying tickets an hour and a half into the fan club presale, in every spot of every arena," he says. "I could have bought 40 lower-level tickets per show."
His take on Bieber? Most of the tickets were gone during presales, and brokers like him are the ones that benefitted.
"I bought in every presale," he says. "During the public onsale, you were lucky to get one or two pairs in the upper level. It seems like 90 percent of the tickets on the market were purchased during the presales."
Bieber announced his tour and put fan club tickets on sale the next day, giving fans little time to learn about the first presale. Lawrence believes Bieber's management did that so that scalpers wouldn't have enough time to prepare, but says management miscalculated.
"It was a surprise. I think a good percentage of brokers didn't know about it in time, but they did a lot better job of keeping the normal fans out of the presale," he says.
Brokers like Lawrence subscribe to websites that will, for a fee, divulge ticket onsale times, presale passwords, and even offer buying recommendations. To bypass strict ticket limits, brokers create multiple Ticketmaster accounts, using credit cards linked to relatives' addresses, post office boxes, or buy prepaid cards that can be registered to any address.
Budnick and Baron says the way Lawrence got his start—by selling for a few popular shows in college—is becoming more common as it becomes easier to buy tickets online. Brokers who buy up hundreds of tickets still exist, but a bigger problem, for the casual fan, is the fact that they're now competing against thousands of casual scalpers. Known in the broker industry as "beer money brokers" or "soccer moms," they're out to make a quick buck on more popular shows.
"Individuals see an opportunity to make quick money on shows like Justin Bieber—maybe they want to go with their best friend, so they'll buy four and then flip two, trying to subsidize their trip," Baron says. "These are moms and dads and college students from around the country, so there's more competition for good seats."
Joellen Ferrer, head of U.S. communications for StubHub, agrees.
"The majority of the sellers on our site are not brokers, the majority are individual fans," she says.
One thing that's overplayed in the scalping world, according to many in the industry, is the use of automated bots that can scoop up hundreds of tickets at a time. That's not to say bots don't exist—in 2010, the operators of Wiseguy Tickets pled guilty to counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and hacking after using bots for seven years to buy more than 1 million concert and sporting event tickets.