It’s hard to blame musicians for how Ticketmaster treats its customers.
The ticketing giant can do almost anything it pleases in the current marketplace. There’s no sizable competitor, and even grunge rockers like Pearl Jam tried and failed, to provide a suitable alternative.
Live Nation merged with Ticketmaster in 2010 and, according to CNBC, “now control an estimated 70% of the ticketing and live event venues market.”
The problem is so entrenched that the U.S. Government is looking into Ticketmaster following its tech meltdown tied to Taylor Swift’s current tour. The Justice Department is also investigating the company over potential antitrust matters.
Both movements share rare bipartisan support.
That makes what happened in music this week all the more shocking. The Cure just won a small but symbolic victory against the ticketing behemoth.
ROBERT SMITH STOOD UP FOR CURE FANS, FAIRNESS, & GOT TICKETMASTER TO REFUND & LOWER TICKETMASTER FEES FOR THE CURE TOUR. THANK YOU @ROBERTSMITH #TheCure #Ticketmaster #ShowsOfALostWorld23 pic.twitter.com/zfUcLOS3th
— THE CURE FOREVER (@TheCureForever_) March 16, 2023
Lead singer Robert Smith responded to fans on Twitter recoiling over the draconian fees placed on the least expensive Cure concert tickets. Some of the lower-priced tickets for its 2023 tour cost more in various fees than the ticket itself.
Smith called Ticketmaster a “bit of a scam” in agreeing to use its services, but the band swallowed hard and accepted the company’s services given its knack for out-smarting scalpers. Still, the outrageous fees attached to low-tier Cure seats proved too much.
The band reached out to Ticketmaster for comment, asking how even the so-called cheap seats could set fans back so much.
The 63-year-old singer got a quick, and helpful, response from Ticketmaster. He shared the good news on social media.
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
The Cure remains an iconic band, responsible for killer cuts like “Boys Don’t Cry,” “Pictures of You” and “Just Like Heaven.” They still lack the gravitas of some of their contemporaries … like Bruce Springsteen.
The Boss’s Ticketmaster ties brought him some terrible publicity last year. The 73-year-old legend announced a new tour, but his fans saw the outlandish prices they needed to pay to see their rock hero again.
And they weren’t happy.
The company’s “dynamic pricing” model meant even mid-level seats would set fans back thousands.
Springsteen hid rather than address the issue at first. He sent his manager out to do some damage control, hoping that would make the matter fade. Later, far-Left Rolling Stone gently pressed him on the issue, and Springsteen defended the sky-high ticket prices as if he never held sway over blue-collar USA.
The ticket broker or someone is going to be taking that money. I’m going, ‘Hey, why shouldn’t that money go to the guys that are going to be up there sweating three hours a night for it?’
Take that, little guy and gal!
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Springsteen can’t change the way Ticketmaster does business. We don’t even know if Congress can do anything about its quasi-monopoly status.
The Cure knew this, too, but it tried to make a difference …and did.
If The Cure could make Ticketmaster tweak its pricing, even just a little, couldn’t a rock god like Springsteen do the same?
Or, at the very least, try?