Ticketmaster backs down over “unduly high” fees following artist backlash
Some fans claimed to pay the same price in fees as a face value ticket
Ticketmaster is offering a partial refund to some gig attendees following persuasion and backlash from both artists and fans over "unduly high" ticket fees.
Those attending The Cure’s live tour in North America have received a small refund after persuasion from the band's frontman, Robert Smith, who argued against high Ticketmaster fees last week on social media.
Smith took to Twitter to tell fans that the band were “sickened” by the fees implemented by Ticketmaster when purchasing a ticket to their forthcoming Shows Of A Lost World Tour, which could in no way be “limited” by the artists themselves.
Some fans said on social media that they had paid even more in fees than the price of a single ticket, with one claiming that they paid $90 in fees for $80 tickets.
“We didn’t agree to the ‘dynamic pricing’/’price surging’/’platinum ticket’ thing… because it is itself a bit of a scam?” Smith said on Twitter, claiming that the band had the final say on ticket pricing for their forthcoming tour, and warned fans of ticket touters.
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Smith added that the band were told Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan platform was a sure way to reduce resale and price surging, where “scalping is regularly reduced by 80%”.
Using Verified Fan scalping is regularly reduced by 80%, with typically fewer than 5% of tickets on the secondary market after a Verified Fan campaign. Listed below are a few of the artists who have effectively used VF to limit resale.”— ROBERT SMITH (@RobertSmith) March 15, 2023
“We were convinced that Ticketmaster’s ‘Verified Fan Page’ and ‘Face Value Ticket Exchange’ ideas could help us fight the scalpers,” Smith explained, adding that the band saw it as “fair pricing” for fans who may miss out on getting tickets due to those touters.
“I am as sickened as you all are by today’s Ticketmaster ‘fees’ debacle,” he said. “I have been asking how they are justified.”
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Shortly after taking to Twitter, Smith said that the band were in talks with Ticketmaster who agreed that “many of the fees being charged are unduly high”, and would offer a partial refund of $5 to $10 to all Verified Fan accounts as a “gesture of goodwill”.
1 OF 2: AFTER FURTHER CONVERSATION, TICKETMASTER HAVE AGREED WITH US THAT MANY OF THE FEES BEING CHARGED ARE UNDULY HIGH, AND AS A GESTURE OF GOODWILL HAVE OFFERED A $10 PER TICKET REFUND TO ALL VERIFIED FAN ACCOUNTS FOR LOWEST TICKET PRICE ('LTP’) TRANSACTIONS...— ROBERT SMITH (@RobertSmith) March 16, 2023
“If you already bought a ticket you will get an automatic refund; all tickets on sale tomorrow will incur lower fees,” Smith explained.
As of Saturday, March 18, The Cure frontman claimed that 99% of their North American tour had sold out, with 500 tickets held back for public sale.
In November, a petition created by More Perfect Union urged for the Department of Justice to investigate Ticketmaster following technical difficulties that saw Taylor Swift fans wait up to eight hours for tickets, some of which resold for $22,000.
Gemma Ross is Mixmag's Editorial Assistant, follow her on Twitter