The Hate Beneath Ticket Fees

The Hate Beneath Ticket Fees

ticket fees

no ticket fees

Another week, another round-up of the worldwide controversy surrounding ticket fees - it must be Fee Free Friday! Canada asks 34 million people "what's behind sky-high concert ticket prices?" Late-breaking news from California where new legislation is being voted on that could affect your venue. Will there be a $3,000 convenience fee in 2014? All that plus a "cheap ass gamer" edition of the Wall of Woe.

Today's Fee Free Friday hero image (above) is the most ironic ever. When tickets for 'The Hate Beneath' (that's the band's name) are listed on Ticketmaster's website, it says "The Hate Beneath Tickets." Speaking of the hate beneath tickets...

Oh Canada... Good Question!

The tidal wave of animosity for ticket fees often comes in the form of very valid questions asked by national news outlets. On Wednesday, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) posed the question "What's behind sky-high concert ticket prices?" to its 34,000,000 viewers. For a moment, let's pretend this isn't Fee Free Friday, and we don't know the answer...

In the broadcast, there is mention of today's economic realities versus days gone by:

Back in the 1970s, a ticket to a Rolling Stones concert in Toronto cost around $8. Tickets for the band's upcoming Toronto stops on its 50th anniversary tour start at $166.50, with the priciest spots listed for upwards of $600 a seat. One explanation is that established acts like the Stones or Fleetwood Mac simply weren't as popular or considered iconic in decades past and couldn't command as high a premium. There are acts that now rely on touring as their main source of revenue.

Later, industry giant Ticketmaster is quoted as explaining the high costs are "the massive and elaborate shows that make up today's typical concert experience." But Michael Rushton is buying either reason:

I don’t buy the Ticketmaster explanation. Ticket prices are high because people are willing to pay that much for a big show, and if they were not we would not get such elaborate shows in the first place. Neither do I buy the explanation that the Stones or Fleetwood Mac were not as popular back in the day.

Regular readers of Fee Free Friday know that when ticket fees approach 30% of the purchase price, it can turn an affordable $33 ticket into a three figure bitter pill. At some point, the people of Canada will see through the veil excuses like "the band is no longer popular" or "cost of elaborate shows" and realize the answer to what's behind sky-high concert ticket prices. If you'll recall, musician Kid Rock has said that the high cost of concert tickets are because of undue fees and service charges.


Casandra Complex Act 3

Last week Fee Free Friday entered into the realm of Greek mythology and the Cassandra Complex when a dire warning about the future came to pass. At the time, legislation in California was being considered to put event tickets under property rights law, effectively killing off so-called paperless tickets. In a follow-up to last week's clairvoyance, Jon Healey writes in the L.A. Times that the legislation has been voted on, but only after being stripped of its teeth.

Unlike their paper counterparts, paperless tickets can't be freely resold or given away; if the buyers can't use them, they're out of luck unless the event's promoter allows the seats to be resold. uch restrictions bothered Assemblyman Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) so much that he introduced a StubHub-sponsored bill (AB 329) to ensure that tickets to live events in California could be handed off or resold at sites not tied to the original ticket seller.

As Healey notes, the torpedoed bill no longer contains the means to assign property rights to events tickets. Worse, Healey is concerned the re-tooled bill may now open the door to even more restrictions on consumers "I worry when consumers lose rights as tangible goods become digital ones."

Even though the bill no longer serves the interests of the ticket buying public in California, the fight is far from over.

Kindred spirits the Fan Freedom Foundation released results of a poll they conducted, asking if ticket buyers should have control over what they paid for.

By an overwhelming majority, California voters believe they own the tickets they buy and object to policies that restrict fans’ rights to transfer their event tickets, research released today shows.

The poll data flies in the face of the action taken by the California state assembly:

• 72 percent of likely voters believe a ticket is their personal property;
• 74 percent said it is their right to transfer tickets they purchase to anyone they choose; and
• 68 percent said it is their right to choose who uses a ticket, sells a ticket and at what cost.

How long will the disconnect between the will of the people and the voting records of politicians continue?

no ticket fees

$3,000 In Ticket Fees

Yesterday's instantaneous sell-out of tickets to Apple's developer conference has its critics, but there are no ticket fees associated with registering to attend. Should Apple ever decide to off-load the conference registration process to a third-party, Paul Haddad tweeted what he anticipates the ticket fee will be:

Citing outrageous ticket fee dollar amounts is a staple of every edition of Fee Free Friday. Fortunately, the above dollar amount is just Haddad expressing his frustration in not being able to buy one of the $1,500 conference tickets. While we're on the subject of frustrated ticket buyers...


The Wall of Woe - Cheap Ass Gamer Edition

The weekly Wall of Woe has returned to its former "glory" rife with the anguished cries of consumers over ticket fees. Of note this week is "Travis" and his recent post on the million people strong Cheap Ass Gamer message board. Travis tells of his experience trying to buy tickets to see his favorite Pink Floyd tribute band.

So I almost never go to concerts, I don't think I've been to a paid concert in over 5 years. Anyway, today on the radio, one of the local radio stations was selling tickets to Brit Floyd (a Pink Floyd cover band) for $10.65 for today only... $2.50 to be able to PRINT my tickets?!? That's insane!...$5.10 Processing Fee!?! Why am I being charged another fee? What were the other fees I was already paying? So my two $10.65 tickets are now costing me over $35, I wasn't counting on that.

You can read Travis' harrowing tale here

Outside the scope of cheap ass gamers, below is a tiny fraction of the on-going conversation about being charged unreasonable per-ticket fees.

angry about ticket fees


Those tweets by Jeff Wilcox and Nicholas William were read by several thousand people. But fortunately the ire did not include the venue names (this time at least). Instead of continuing to take the risk of your venue being mentioned by name, why not avoid the bad publicity entirely?

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