North Texas Daily

Music fans deserve better from Ticketmaster

Music fans deserve better from Ticketmaster

Music fans deserve better from Ticketmaster
February 24
20:30 2020

When newly reunited rock band My Chemical Romance announced their first headlining tour in nine years, tickets were expected to be in high demand. The Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia advertised prices ranging from $59.50 for nosebleed seats to $199.50 for pit seats, which seemed to be fairly reasonable since the band had not performed together since 2012 and had been broken up from 2013 to 2019. However, when tickets went on sale, fans were shocked to see those same tickets marked up to ridiculously inflated prices. In some cases, nosebleeds were being sold for five times their original value at $300 per seat, and the prices only increased for seats closer to the stage.

Had scalpers already beaten fans to the tickets?

Surprisingly, bots are not to blame for these exorbitant price hikes. This is simply how Ticketmaster — the company responsible for selling and distributing tickets to numerous concerts including the My Chemical Romance reunion tour —  does business with their “dynamic pricing” model. Prices constantly change to reflect market demand, meaning the more fans clamor for a chance to see their favorite artists in concert, the higher Ticketmaster can raise the cost of entry. My Chemical Romance fans are not the only victims in this situation either.

In fact, the same fiasco unfolded again when Rage Against the Machine, another newly reunited rock band, came under fire for the pricing of “charity tickets” which used Ticketmaster’s dynamic pricing model, but pledged to donate all profits above the normal base ticket price to charity. While donating to charity is by no means a bad deed, it fails to address the root of Ticketmaster’s problem that average people do not have the financial means to pay $921 for a single general admission ticket. It does not matter who reaps the rewards of dynamic pricing when fans and their wallets continue to be taken advantage of.

So why are artists not speaking out? If they do not profit from dynamic pricing, and their fans are unhappy because of Ticketmaster’s policies, why stand idly by and let the problem continue? Pearl Jam tried to fight that battle back in 1994, when they refused to let Ticketmaster charge concertgoers a service fee that they believed was too high. Ticketmaster retaliated by canceling their summer tour. Twenty-six years later, the Pearl Jam situation still serves as a warning to any artist daring to speak out against Ticketmaster, even those with followings large enough to fill arenas.

However, artists can tour without Ticketmaster as Pearl Jam did about a year after losing their fight against the company. It is difficult however as Pearl Jam ended up independently handling ticket sales and booking everything from venues to bathrooms by themselves. But, it is also difficult to pay unfair service fees or spend 20 minutes in a queue only to discover a $60 ticket is now five times that price. Another alternative is making tickets available to purchase at the venue box office before selling them online with Ticketmaster, as Nine Inch Nails did in 2018. Although this method is far from perfect, not everyone lives close enough to a venue to buy tickets in person or has the time to wait in line, it offers an opportunity to evade the inflated prices and high fees that concertgoers often experience when using Ticketmaster.

Fan loyalty is a powerful force that should not be taken advantage of, no matter how “in demand” an artist might be. There is a fine line between supply and demand and flat-out ripping people off and Ticketmaster’s current pricing model crosses that line.

Featured Illustration: Kylie Phillips

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Audrey Vieira

Audrey Vieira

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1 Comment

  1. Jax Cooper
    Jax Cooper February 25, 20:08

    No comments here. Doesn’t surprise me as people just pay the fees and high prices of dynamic pricing. I just boycotted Ticketmaster but this is why I have money and most people are debt ridden. Thanks for such a great article.

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