Yusuf Islam (formerly known as Cat Stevens) cancelled his first New York concert in 35 years in protest to the state’s law on ticket transferring, which he claims aids the multi-billion-dollar ticket scalping industry. Islam made the announcement on his website yesterday, claiming that tickets for his Big Apple performance were already being listed at “extortionate prices” on some websites.
In his statement, Islam voiced his support for paperless ticketing, a method that already has several vocal supporters in Pearl Jam, Tom Waits, James Murphy, and Metallica. Paperless ticketing requires the purchaser of the tickets to show a valid form of identification at the box office on the day of the show; the system has proven reliable at subverting scalpers and the ever-growing ticket resale market. However, New York state passed a law in 2010 that required that tickets be transferable between parties. With ticket scalping evolving into big business thanks to the success of platforms like StubHub, artists have found it more and more difficult to keep ticket prices down and tickets out of the hands of scalpers.
Islam announced that a new date on his fall tour had been added for December 4th at the Tower Theater in Philadelphia to take the place of the cancelled New York show. He ended his statement with a promise that he would return to New York again, but it’s hard to see that happening as long as ticket scalpers are on the prowl.
Islam will also be releasing a new album, Tell ‘Em I’m Gone, this year.