“Fuck Ticketmaster”- Artist sells concert tickets in-person after online service provider controversy
American singer-songwriter Maggie Rogers has received praise from fans after announcing that tickets to her concerts will be sold in-person rather than online. The decision to sell directly from local box-offices comes in response to bots and rising fees, all of which have prevented fans from attending shows in recent years. In the consequent outpour of support, many messages held one sentiment in particular: “fuck Ticketmaster”.
Ticketmaster, the world’s largest ticketing services provider, came under fire at the end of last year due to its handling of the presale of Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, in which millions of fans lost out due to queues, website crashes, and scalpers- who later resold tickets on StubHub at absurd prices, some up to $22,000. Although the company blamed “historically unprecedented demand” for the outages, it was met with overwhelming criticism from Swift, her fans, and even several members of the U.S. Congress, who claimed that Ticketmaster’s monopoly on sales has led to extortionate prices and unacceptable customer service. More recently, fans of The Cure were outraged when Ticketmaster’s added fees amounted to more than the cost of their tickets, despite the band deliberately keeping prices low, and not consenting to the provider’s pricing systems. Lead singer Robert Smith also announced the band had cancelled over 7,000 tickets which had been purchased and relisted by scalpers.
Fans of all artists and genres have spoken out about their frustrations with Ticketmaster. 19-year-old Cecelia Westwood even says they are the reason she does not regularly attend concerts, despite enjoying their atmosphere. She cites “the major reselling problem and inaccessibility to tickets for fans” as well as “outrageous” fees as barriers created by the provider, which make attending gigs difficult.
Another issue with Ticketmaster is its recent dynamic pricing system, in which ticket prices vary based on demand. They claim this structure offers fans “an opportunity to safely buy official tickets for the events they love, right up to the date of the show”- however, it actually results in consumers being priced out of gigs, or having to buy tickets from resellers.
Rock and pop-punk fan Alex Warnes believes that he is only able to attend concerts of the smaller artists he is a fan of, due to popularity’s effect on prices.
“A lot of the bands and artists I like sell tickets for quite a reasonable price and tend to not play at venues that can only have their tickets sold through Ticketmaster, which is quite good” he says. “However, there are some bigger artists that would be really cool to see that I could never justify spending [over] £200 on tickets for.” He references Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift as artists whose tickets have recently sold for hundreds of pounds.
Although Maggie Roger’s approach to ticket sales is a step in the right direction, with fans like Cecelia commending the control it gives artists over pricing, it seems a more comprehensive solution to Ticketmaster’s monopoly is still yet to be drawn.
“I still think buying tickets online is the most accessible way to do it,” Alex says. “However, it would be better if artists would be able to work with the venues on ways to sell tickets through their own platforms.”