Kid Rock Hates Ticket Fees
An angry tirade against ticket fees by a famous entertainer. Round three of the battle between two ticketing industry giants. And millions of frustrated consumers abandoning the ticket purchase process...it must be Fee Free Friday!
If you thought Madea hated ticket fees, wait until you hear what Kid Rock has to say!
"F*** Ticket Fees!"
On Monday of this week musician Kid Rock made his millions of fans very happy when he announced greatly reduced ticket prices for his upcoming concert tour. From the official announcement posted on Rock's website:
Kid Rock is breaking all the rules with the announcement of his U.S. Summer tour by offering tickets in all sections (reserved seats and lawn) at an affordable $20 price point, using paperless tickets where possible...In addition to the low ticket price, Kid Rock is going beyond the extra mile for his fans. In a first for a Kid Rock tour, participating Walmart locations will offer all-in $20 tickets -- no fees, no parking charges, nada. Kid Rock is reserving the first two rows for every show as free upgrades for lucky fans who will be selected at random. Special $4 draught beers, value food packages, cheaper parking (where possible), free samples of Jimmy John's sandwiches at select venues, free coffee at the end of the show.
Such value and affordability is unprecedented in today's live music concerts and Kid Rock is to be commended for taking such good care of his fans!
But then on Wednesday, Rolling Stone magazine published an interview with Kid Rock that revealed the backroom wheeling and dealing between Rock and Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino. The Rolling Stone interview shows that ticket fees are a major point of contention for the '$20 Best Night Ever' tour. The interview also explains the "paperless tickets where possible" caveat made in the official Kid Rock press release. In his trademark colorful language, Rock explains his position:
"I've been meeting with Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino for years, trying to figure out how to fix the concert industry...It's ridiculous. People stopped going to concerts because they can't afford them. The Rolling Stones are charging $650 per ticket! That just makes me speechless. I love the Stones, but I won't be attending."
Further on in the interview, the issues of paperless tickets and ticket fees boil over...
"It's f***ing Republican lawmakers passing those laws, you dumbasses. They already did it in New York and they're trying to do it in Michigan. I've even called some of those guys to try and stop it." He's also livid with Ticketmaster. "They're taking a f***ing five-dollar service charge," he says. "It's 25 percent of the f***ing ticket! That's f***ed up, but I've beaten them up as much as I can. Then Walmart stepped in and agreed to charge just $20, and it includes parking."
Using less colorful language, Huffington Post Live went into more detail about the revelations made in the Rolling Stone interview (video above). Venue owners should to take the time to read the entire Rolling Stone interview as well as watch the Huffington Post Live segment as both pertain to best business practices for ticket fees.
The Kid Rock vs. Live Nation battle has only just begun. Another battle over ticket fees is already in round three...
Battle of the Titans: Round 3
Regular readers of Fee Free Friday have witnessed round 1 and round 2 of the battle between ticketing industry giants Ticketmaster and AEG. Now round three has taken place, this time in Duluth Georgia, home of The Arena at Gwinnett Center.
For more than 16 years the Gwinnett Center has been using Tickemaster as its ticketing software but has just announced it will be switching to AEG Live's AXS ticketing system. Meghan Kotowski spoke to Gwinnett Center General Manager Joseph Dennis about dropping Ticketmaster as a service provider:
All of our Ticketmaster shows are going to burn off...There's no surprises. You will know how much your ticket is immediately. There's no last minute fees and you know what the ticket inventory is in real time.
In addition to reducing fees and being more transparent about hold backs, the move marks a new era for ticket buyers in Atlanta.
Later in her Gwinnett Daily Post article, Kotowski quotes AEG's president of digital ticketing, Bryan Perez, who says he knows what ticket buyers want.
We're trying to make the on-sale experience more pleasing. With AXS, attendees should notice a lower price, since there is no processing fee per ticket, and a more user-friendly online experience.
It is important to note that, while being reduced, there will still be per-ticket fees being charged at the Gwinnett Center as our friends at Venues Today pointed out on their Twitter.
Even though AEG Live's technology is only available to large area-sized venues, the switch being made by the Gwinnett Center is representative of a nationwide trend. Venues and events desperate to avoid the bad publicity and brand name damaging effects of unreasonable ticket fees are actively seeking alternative fee-free ticketing technologies.
Venue owners aren't the only ones desperate to avoid ticket fees...
Just how desperate to avoid outrageous ticket fess have people become? Well, if the advice recently published in Hack College magazine is any evidence - extremely desperate. Hack College writer Daniel shared his tips for avoiding ticket fees in a list of rather extreme measures that may only be practical for college students (at least for now).
You hate Ticketmaster fees? Get in line. No one wants to pay them, but these same people don’t know how to get around them. Here’s the deal, you don’t have to even buy tickets for shows if you’re smart. There are plenty of ways to get around all the drama and still get into the show
You are encouraged to read the complete list for yourself here.
Some of the radical ways include getting a job at the venue and loitering at the entrance long before the event starts (Hmm). Fee Free Friday must stop short of endorsing such drastic actions, but fully empathizes with college students unable to afford tickets to see their favorite bands.
Wall of Woe
While we're on the subject of ticket buyers going to extreme measures to avoid ticket fees, the weekly Wall of Woe is rife with consumers sharing their disdain. The curated list below is but a tiny fraction of the global conversation about ticket fees that is going on right now, as you read this.
That last tweet by Jared Stranger shows that the ticket buying public has little tolerance for phony sounding ticket fees. They have even less tolerance for fees and services charges that appear at the very end of the purchase process as a "gotcha." But it doesn't have to be like this at your venue, there is a better way.
ThunderTix does not charge you per ticket fees for selling tickets online or at the box office. We encourage you to pass along that savings to the consumer and show them the long term vision of your business is tied directly to their satisfaction. Your patrons will love that you don’t add fees. It’s that simple. Lower ticket costs through no added fees translate into higher sales and greater patron satisfaction.
Fee Free Friday will be back next week, until then, be sure to take a look at our other features and sign up for a free trial today!