Fans of progressive rock outfit Coheed and Cambria are up in arms over how so-called “official platinum” tickets were sold for the band’s current tour – as Ticketmaster’s dynamic-priced tickets were confused by many purchasers with the band’s “Platinum VIP” tickets for meet & greet opportunities at the same shows.
Many, who purchased the Ticketmaster version of platinum (which are just regular tickets, priced aggressively higher than similar tickets), thought they were purchasing VIP Meet & Greet passes, only to realize that they just paid far above the advertised price for regular tickets. The venting of those frustrations caused the band to issue a statement on its social media Wednesday, half-apologizing for the mix-up, but also laying the blame squarely on the ticketing giant for the confusion:
While most fans in the reply thread below went with blaming the Live Nation-owned ticketing provider, the anger was still very real throughout the thread for those who felt it was a deliberate bait-and-switch on the part of the ticketer.
The conversation showed similar anger on a Reddit.com thread recapping the Facebook announcement and confusing language.
In reality, however, the band (or at least its management) share in the blame over the confusing nature of the “Official Platinum” vs. their long-standing “Platinum VIP” nomenclature. Official Platinum seats are a frequently used tactic to use the ability to price tickets dynamically to the maximum point that consumers are willing to pay for them, essentially allowing promoters to directly “scalp” tickets and reap the extra profits. The decision on how many tickets of any given show are given such designation is not made by the ticketer, nor is it designed to enrich the ticketer (though they certainly get more fees when tickets sell at a premium price than at whatever the advertised “face value” happened to be.)
At least one fan in the Facebook thread seemed to grasp that this pricing gap had little to do with Ticketmaster as a company, and more to do with the fact that touring musicians are utilizing the “official platinum” system to do their best to make fans pay prices they might have seen on the secondary ticket market after a show sells out without having to sell the show out in the first place.
Ultimately, the biggest gripe is that the promoter and ticketer should have probably understood that having one block of desirable tickets marked up well above the announced face value as “official platinum” that had no extra perks, while simultaneously selling meet & greet tickets marketed as “VIP Platinum” was extremely confusing for fans scrambling to buy the best seats they could for a band they love. This doesn’t even take into account the overwhelming pressure fans feel based on the disingenuous “bots are buying all the tickets before you can” narrative that dominates the ticketing market today, even if there’s no clarity on how much bots are actually buying.
Unfortunately for Coheed and Cambria fans, a lot of what they have went through in this instance is an example of the primary ticketing world operating exactly as it is designed to do. And Ticketmaster being blamed is part of the plan, even when much of that blame deserves to be shared with the band’s management itself.
Photo: Coheed and Cambria playing in Central Park in 2010 – via Brian Reisinger on Wikimedia Commons