February 5, 2009 By Alfred Branch Jr.
An angry Bruce Springsteen today ripped Ticketmaster Entertainment and its subsidiary TicketsNow for their initial handling of ticket sales to his upcoming tour, and he demanded the two stop rerouting customers from Ticketmaster to TicketsNow when tickets sell out.
In a letter on his Web site, The Boss echoes sentiments logged by U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell of New Jersey, who has called on the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice to investigate the relationship between the two companies. Ticketmaster bought TicketsNow, one of the nation’s largest secondary ticket companies, last year and the two repeatedly have been questioned about the relationship.
Below is the text of the letter, and in addition to criticizing their handling of ticket sales, Springsteen also weighs in against a proposed merger between Ticketmaster and live entertainment giant Live Nation:
A LETTER TO OUR FANS:
We know there was much confusion regarding Ticketmaster and TicketsNow during last Monday’s on-sale dates. We were as confused as you were, as we were given no advance notice of the major changes in the Ticketmaster-TicketsNow world. (Bear in mind that we are not clients of any ticketing company, and that all those arrangements are between venues and ticketing companies.)
Last Monday, we were informed that Ticketmaster was redirecting your log-in requests for tickets at face value, to their secondary site TicketsNow, which specializes in up-selling tickets at above face value. They did this even when other seats remained available at face value. We condemn this practice.
We perceive this as a pure conflict of interest. Ticketmaster is there to ensure that we have a good, fair sale of our tickets at their face value plus normal ticketing charges. TicketsNow is supposed to be a secondary site where people who already have tickets may exchange, trade, and, unfortunately, speculate with them. We have asked this redirection from Ticketmaster to TicketsNow cease and desist immediately and Ticketmaster has agreed to do so in the future and has removed its unwanted material from their and our site.
We know the many cynical arguments some make in favor of the Ticketmaster system: There are rumors that some artists or managers participate in Ticketmaster charges–we do not. There are rumors that some artists or managers are receiving a percentage of the amount above face value at secondary outlets like TicketsNow–we do not. Some artists or managers may not perceive there to be a conflict between having the distributor of their tickets in effect “scalping” those same tickets through a secondary company like TicketsNow–we do.
While many of you have sent notes to us and your local promoters, you may also send accurate informational letters to Albert Lopez of Ticketmaster and he will try to address your questions.
A final point for now: the one thing that would make the current ticket situation even worse for the fan than it is now would be Ticketmaster and Live Nation coming up with a single system, thereby returning us to a near monopoly situation in music ticketing. Several newspapers are reporting on this story right now. If you, like us, oppose that idea, you should make it known to your representatives.
The abuse of our fans and our trust by Ticketmaster has made us as furious as it has made many of you. We will continue to do our utmost now and in the future to make sure that these practices are permanently curtailed on our tours.
Bruce Springsteen, Jon Landau and the entire Springsteen Tour Team