Robert Smith: Ticketmaster fees thwarted The Cure's attempt to cut ticket prices
UPI News Service, 03/16/2023
British-based rock band The Cure wanted to keep ticket prices low for their upcoming U.S. tour, so they set them at $20. Unfortunately for fans wanted tickets, Ticketmaster fees wiped out that plan.
Frontman Robert Smith expressed his dissatisfaction with the fees on Twitter, writing, "I am as sickened as you all are by today's Ticketmaster 'Fees' debacle. To be very clear: The artist has no way to limit them.
"I have been asking how they are justified. If I get anything coherent by way of an answer I will let you all know."
Fans responding to Smith also detailed technical difficulties that limited their ability to buy tickets and they cited price points higher than the $20 The Cure promised.
Smith also said that to prevent price gouging, the band would not participate in Ticketmaster's dynamic pricing and "platinum ticket" designations. Dynamic pricing refers to fluctuating costs based on demand.
In a tweet, Smith referred to it as a "greedy scam." The band said they would also use the company's "verified fan" tool to make sure tickets stayed out of scalpers' hands.
Fans responded to Smith's post, showing screenshots of tickets inflated from the original $20 with various fees of more than $20 per ticket.
Ticketmaster's website explains the fee structure in a lengthy post that includes five different kinds of fees, including "delivery" fees and "service processing and order fees."
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"Ticket fees (which can include a service fee, order processing fee and sometimes a delivery fee) are determined in collaboration with our clients," itsr post reads. "In exchange for the rights to sell their tickets, our clients typically share in a portion of the fees we collect."
Ticket pricing resulted in a longtime Bruce Springsteen fanzine closing in February. The fanzine, Backstreets, which was launched in 1980, announced the decision in a blog post saying that Springsteen's fanbase had been priced out of concerts.
"If you read the editorial Backstreets published last summer in the aftermath of the U.S. ticket sales, you have a sense of where our heads and hearts have been: dispirited, downhearted, and, yes, disillusioned," editor-in-chief Christopher Phillips wrote in a blog post as reported by Pitchfork.
"It's not a feeling we're at all accustomed to while anticipating a new Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band tour."
He noted that "These are concerts that we can hardly afford; that many of our readers cannot afford; and that a good portion of our readership has lost interest in as a result."
Smith is just one artist who has tried to limit ticket prices. But even for fans who are willing to pay top dollar to see their favorite artist, buying tickets can be frustrating, if not impossible.
Taylor Swift's fanbase was upset when a technical glitch caused thousands of fans waiting in an online queue to buy tickets for her Eras tour to be unable to purchase them.
Fans sued Ticketmaster in the wake of the ticketing problem.
The debacle ultimately led to a Senate subcommittee hearing given the lack of competition in the ticket market, a result of the merger of Live Nation Entertainment and Ticketmaster in 2010.
"I believe in capitalism and to have a strong capitalist system. You have to have competition, you can't have too much consolidation -- something that unfortunately for this country, as an ode to Taylor Swift, I will say we know 'all too well,'" Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and the chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust and Consumer Rights, said at the hearing.
Smith told fans he would continue to look into the issue.
"I will be back if I get anything serious on the TM fees," he wrote. "In the meantime, I am compelled to note down my obvious recurring elephant in the room thought: That if no-one bought from scalpers, then..."
The Cure's U.S. tour starts on May 10 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans.
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