Yusuf Islam, the singer-songwriter once known as Cat Stevens, was all set to play his first New York concert in 40 years at the Beacon Theatre on 12/7. But as Stevens explained in a post on his website, he’s canceled that date because the state of New York does not allow paperless ticketing, which undermines his efforts to prevent scalping. Here’s the full text of Islam’s post:
“Unfortunately I will not be performing in NYC this time around but I am looking forward to playing for fans in Philadelphia on December 4 and hope to return to NYC at a future date. My fans will understand and I thank them for informing me about the extortionate tickets prices already being listed on some websites. I have been a longtime supporter of paperless tickets to my shows worldwide and avoiding scalpers. Unfortunately NY has a state law that requires all tickets sold for shows in NYC to be paper, enabling them to be bought and sold at inflated prices. I’m sorry about not being able to now play in NYC but hope to find an opportunity that aligns with my support of this issue in the near future, God willing. Looks like the Peace Train is going to arrive at New York a little bit later than expected.” – Yusuf
This rationale is somewhat confusing among Stereogum’s heavy New York contingent, who cited events such as Neutral Milk Hotel’s appearance at Brooklyn Academy of Music as one example of paperless ticketing in the city. Apparently the law Islam is referring to was approved by Gov. Andrew Cuomo three years ago, and it doesn’t forbid paperless ticketing entirely, but it does ensure printed tickets will continue to be widespread. The bill was designed to stimulate the secondhand ticket market, which might be good for the economy but certainly doesn’t seem like the “consumer protection” measure supporters of the bill made it out to be.
Islam performed a few songs at Barclays Center for this year’s Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction, but it looks like his fans will have to wait indefinitely for a proper headlining show.
[Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images.]