Fee Free Friday - GO BLUE!
We shout "GO BLUE!" for the “Wolverine State” as Michigan joins the fight against absurd ticket fees and services charges. Plus, buried in Live Nation's Q2 report is an updated "Ticketing Fees Consumer Class Action Litigation" budget. 'Power to be peaceful' concert is cancelled rather than pass $90,000 in fees onto concertgoers, and yet another litany of horrors from trenches.
Muster your collegiate fighting spirit and read on!
Melissa Anders reports that state representative Douglas Geisss will introduce new legislation to strengthen the state law, that are already in place, prohibiting re-sale fees of more than 10% of the event ticket face value. The Geisss plan will also require online resellers to publish the original price of the ticket. Even though unregulated re-selling is strictly prohibited by state law, Secondary ticket markets such as StubHub.com have contracts with teams and venues allowing fans to sell their tickets on the site.
The law says you can sell a ticket but not for more than face value, but you can turn around and sell it at a place like StubHub and there’s no limit.
Michigan lawmakers have a parallel piece of legislation that is even stricter than what Rep. Douglas Geisss is proposing. Sen. Joe Hune intends to prohibiting electronic tickets that cannot be resold or used by anyone but the ticket purchaser. He also introduced legislation to ban people from using robotic software, or ticket bots, to quickly purchase large quantities of hot-selling tickets in order to be sold on the secondary market.
In contrast, economics professor at the University of Michigan-Flint Mark Perry went on the record opposing both legislative efforts, citing that they are restricting natural market forces.
Tickets are like any other commodity whether it's corn or wheat … in some ways a ticket is just like that and the value of the ticket is determined by the market forces of supply and demand.
All of this is very encouraging to see. Michigan's new strict event ticket laws are on par with New Jersey, and the City of Baltimore. We can only cheer as the tide begins to turn in favor of the ticket buyer, city-by-city and state-by-state. We will keep a close eye on the Wolverine state as the situation develops and report back!
Live Nation Q2 results
Live Nation reported its second quarter earnings this week, showing earnings have slid 42%...but the absurd ticket fees and service charges remain. The lower earning could suggest they are not connecting the dots.
The world's largest event ticket seller cited fewer bookings, lower rates of return on national events, but claims those losses are offset by higher amounts made from ticket sales. There was no explicit mention if Live Nation's controversial dynamic pricing (which in theory raises the ticket price when the weather is nice).
Live Nation Chief Executive, Michael Rapino, may have hinted the company is seeing results from dynamic pricing by cryptically referring to it as the "technology platform".
Overall, we remain confident in our ability to deliver growth in our core business while we continue to invest in the technology platform, unlocking future growth opportunities with our 200 million transaction base.
Buried in the Q2 report was an update on the amount of money Live Nation is facing in a multi-front battle with consumers over ticket fees. The report shows on page 16, 'Ticketing Fees Consumer Class Action Litigation' summary.
As of June 30, 2012, the Company has accrued $35.5 million, its best estimate of the probable costs associated with the settlement referred to above.This liability includes an estimated redemption rate. Any difference between the Company's estimated redemption rate and the actual redemption rate it experiences will impact the final settlement amount; however, the Company does not expect this difference to be material
We may make a polite suggestion that huge legal budgets for class action lawsuits could be avoided altogether by not applying such high per ticket fees and unjustifiable service charges....but it would be merely a suggestion.
‘Power To The Peaceful’ cancelled
In San Francisco, the 12 year tradition of the Power To The Peaceful concert has come to an end, killed off by the hands fees imposed by the city.
If you recall, Goldenvoice Coachella was run out of the city of Indio after the city proposed more than $800,000.00 in fees on the music festival. Rather than burden the ticketbuyer, Coachella has been moved to a cruise ship - leaving the city of Indio with zero dollars.
Sadly, the same stance taken by 'Power To The Peaceful' against San Francisco did not end with a mere location change. The beloved concert has stated there will be no event for 2012, and the long time event has no plans to move to another location in the future.
In what would have been our 13th year of free festivals in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park the only way to have produce the festival this year would have been to turn it into a ticketed event. We wish to thank all of our supporters and volunteers and look forward to the next chapter of the Power To The Peaceful team working to promote peace and positivity in our community at future events.
To acknowledge the city of San Francisco side of the dispute, the 2011 Power To The Peaceful concert had a massive over-attendance of 80,000 people, which overwhelmed the scheduled services. Citing increased costs for planning, security and clean-up, the city submitting a fee for $90,000.00 to the Power To The Peaceful organizers. That amount could not be made practical since it would mean a sharp increase in ticket prices.
Rather than pass the fees onto the concert goers, the event has been cancelled, leaving the city of San Francisco with zero revenue, just like Indio.
Litany of horrors
What has come to be a gut wrenching Fee Free Friday tradition, below are some of the eye popping horror stories told by ticket buyers as they are assaulted by absurd per ticket fees and service charges. No new records set this week , but that is of little comfort, given the dollar amounts cited.
- "They charged us $79.00 per ticket, and the face value of the ticket is only $32.77. They overcharged us by $46.23 per ticket, and total overcharge was $184.92. Plus a service charge of $58.48 and delivery charge of $14.95. We paid a total of $389.43 for 4 tickets, and it should have only been $131.08."
- "I paid $190 apiece for four Aerosmith tickets from what I thought was Ticketmaster. I was charged a $140 service fee. The next morning, I realized I had purchased the tickets from Ticketsnow instead of Ticketmaster and called to cancel my order (less than 24 hours later). The request was denied."
- "When the tickets showed up, the price was $55 each while TicketsNow charged me $154 each with a $55 handling fee. The entire time they made it seem like the ticket price was $154."
- "[to avoid the] $14.95 shipping fee was going to be waived due to having to pick them up, I waited for an hour and a half at the box office, missing half the game
- I paid $85 ea plus $40 processing fee for Mike Epps tickets to the Feb. 10 show in Atlanta."
A big win in Michigan has us hopeful, but the war on absurd ticket fees rages on. You need not become a line item in our loss column by the practical application of fees for your event. Whether or not to charge fees is a the focus of our new 'To Fee or not to Fee" guide which we encourage you to read as part of your "practical application of fees" policy.
With or without state legislation, the rancor surrounding ticket fees is not going to end anytime soon. Fee Free Friday will be back next week with all new battle reports. Until then, be sure to take a look at our other features and sign up for a free trial today!