The story of Springsteen fans feeling raped on the recent public onsale for 2023 tour tickets WORLDWIDE has been in the forefront of the news cycle recently. I have had a hand in the ticket brokerage business ALL MY LIFE but to be clear I was not PERSONALLY an active buyer in these recent onsales.
The purpose of this posting is part outrage and part education and CLARITY in this industry TODAY. Pre pandemic the business model for Ticketmaster was fueled by broker sales on ANY onsale minus direct to band VIP fan club or sponsor holds. The disconnect from the public has been a major risk for TM in that if the brokers do not buy, the public is not there to pick up slack because they know good seats are NEVER available and their buying habits have adjusted to that so the 1st day POP is key to a healthy onsale as sales dwindle afterward and most secondary sales happen in first few days after the initial onsale when interest is highest for any given show. The proliferation of presales upon presales has spawned a cottage industry SELLING presale codes prior to primary onsale (check ticketcrusader.com as one) and created multiple opportunities to brokers to get the upper hand in getting the best seats while at the same time flustering the public at large in dealing with ever more confusing process forcing them into a broker aided sale.
The simple solution would be one time WIDE OPEN FULL ALLOTMENT minus legit holds onsale with FIXED tiered pricing on seating locations with a band direct VIP ticket option at a premium price depending on the band but TM seems unable/unwilling to provide that. By striving 2 eliminate the “scalpers” they are now the bagman claiming the promoter (Live Nation, their owner) and the artist will receive the windfall proceeds.
To be clear, there are savvy and experienced buyers out there that KNOW how to buy seats for shows and the ones I am personally very close to and brought into the industry 20 years ago are at the top of that food chain, purchasing on spec either by band or price point inventory for that band, defined as second tier pricing straight up, NOT whored out on dynamic pricing. Rolling Stones stadium and arena shows fit that criteria as example and I posted an article from LA Times below showing OTHER high priced tickets as top price seats for the Stones at face price usually can go from $1,500.00 pit seats down to $425.00 for other up front main floor seats. A club level seat at $275.00 is a a better buy and less risk as example. For the record , my associates bought NO Springsteen tickets and were appalled at the verified fan option forced on people further confusing the process as from their vantage point , NO SEATS came out at face price. NONE that they saw which is contrary to public statements by TM and to a lesser degree with certain truthful disclaimers stated Springsteen’s manager of almost FIFTY years Jon Landau who is quoted at the end of this posting as defending the prices as on a par with other performers.
The proof will soon be painfully obvious when certain Bruce shows go on sale OUTSIDE the TM system (Think AXS/AEG in Kansas City for one) and it will be revealed how THEY are mandated by management to handle their onsales. Those shows go on sale shortly. Stay tuned