Fee Free Friday - The Fog of War
Fee Free Friday is a Yankee Doodle Dandy. A Yankee Doodle do or die in the war on unreasonably high per ticket fees and service charges that is!
Fee Free Friday is dominated this week by comedian Louis C.K.’s widely reported “experiment” in selling tickets to his upcoming comedy tour directly to his fans. We bring you the very latest information as well as some unreported thoughts from the CEO of Ticketmaster. Plus we may have found the new reference standard for publishing your ticket fee pain points. Finally, a nostalgic look back at what per ticket fees were like in 1984!
The Fog of War
There is little doubt you have not heard that comedian Louis C.K. has decided to sell tickets to his comedy tour directly to fans. Those tickets went on sale earlier this week and in less than 48 hours, 100,00 were sold for the tidy sum of $4,500,000.00!.
News of the Louis experiment leaped up and out from the ticket industry to be national news in many disparate industries - and in that may be a problem.
It seems that the non-ticket industry press has been putting words into Louis C.K.’s mouth. The popular comedian stated that he wants his fans to be able to attend the event without being charged a unreasonable fees and protect them from unscrupulous ticket scalpers - Louis did not cite TicketMaster directly as the reason he is selling tickets on his website.
The number of reports claiming the comedy tour represents “Louis C.K. vs. Ticketmaster” are too numerous to list, but of note is The Huffington Post. In what may be an artificial point of contention, HuffPo said Louis C.K. is "shunning" TicketMaster:
C.K.’s announcement appears to have struck a nerve with a ticket-buying public that has become increasingly disenchanted with Ticketmaster. After years of paying multiple fees on tickets -- among them "delivery," “convenience” or “service” fees -- fans have taken the ticketing giant to court, challenging those fees' legality.
Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard tweeted that he supports the Louis C.K. ticket sales "experiment" as a way to limit the impact third-party resellers have on consumers.
It sucks that StubHub is trying to pass laws making what @LouisCK is doing illegal. Hope fans support him. Go get 'em, Louis.
The HuffPo report goes on to accurately describe the larger issue of scalpers and ticket brokers scooping up tickets and reselling them at outrageous markups of up to 1,000% without regard to actual demand.
The fog of war may have distorted some of the facts surrounding the Louis C.K. ticket selling experiment. For example if you were to click through the website and initiate the purchase process, you will see that there is a ticket fee being assigned, albeit a very reasonable $5.00.
We wrote earlier in the week of Louis C.K.s endevor, citing it and Amanda Palmer’s crowd sourcing may be signals of drastic changes in the very nature of the event ticket industry. We support the principle held by Louis C.K. and Amanda Palmer as they take control of the ticket sale process, making their fans the paramount concern.
We are yet to hear the last of the Louis C.K. ticket sale experiment and we will be following up on it as the situation warrants.
Billfold sets the standard
A Billfold.com article by Lindsey Weber titled 'Recent Concerts I’ve Attended And What They Cost (And Should Have Cost)' chronicles ticket costs item by item experience from the concerts she recently attended. Her report is for the most part a triumph, with the majority of tickets being had for face value. One painful exception was rapper Lil’ Kim's performance at Paradise Theater :
Lil’ Kim at Paradise Theater
What I Paid: $60What I Should Have Paid: $20
On this list of mostly-irrelevant performers I have chosen to see live, Lil’ Kim (“And Friends”) was the least relevant and the most expensive. Harlem’s Paradise Theater is a beautifully preserved venue, florid with with 16th century Italian baroque designs, and certain worth a visit. Lil’ Kim is not as well-preserved, and this whole ordeal was wholly too expensive.
We want to see more people publish their litany of wins and losses from buying event tickets, Weber's account is an excellent baseline to start from.
Live music fan Eric Turnbow has a wonderful website on which he shares his experiences at concerts. After attending the Hall & Oates reunion tour concert, he waxed nostalgic about the costs of a concert and the formerly low per ticket fee.
The tickets were only $18 each! Back then the ticket fee was only $1.50! (I miss those days). In a way I had come full circle getting to see them again some 26 years later!
We strongly encourage you to take the time to read through Turnbow's website as it serves as an excellent example of what concertgoers think about your venue.
Just like Eric Turnbow, we wish the good old' the days of reasonable tickets fees would return - so we provide you everything needed to help bring them back.
Your ThunderTix account gives you the ability to sell tickets with no fees. You have complete control over the ticket fees and services charges you apply to your event. You can even go fee free! We do not charge you per ticket fees, so why not pass that along to your event patrons? They will love you for it.
The Fourth of July is America's birthday and a remembrance of the war that brought about its independence. Independence from high ticket fees is a war that rages on, and Fee Free Friday will be back next week with more freedom fighters' wins and loses.