Ticketmaster Defends Ticket Surge Pricing in Response to Pascrell Ticketmaster Defends Ticket Surge Pricing in Response to Pascrell
Ticketmaster defended its role in surging ticket prices, issuing an official statement this week in response to a letter demanding answers from Rep. Bill... Ticketmaster Defends Ticket Surge Pricing in Response to Pascrell

Ticketmaster defended its role in surging ticket prices, issuing an official statement this week in response to a letter demanding answers from Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) in the wake of the massive controversy over Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s 2023 tour. The Live Nation Entertainment-owned ticketing company has been under fire for much of the summer as fans have expressed anger and frustration at the “platinum” and dynamic systems that have sent ticket prices through the roof as the company has encouraged its roster of artists to put them into practice – padding its bottom line to record revenue levels as live events have returned.

“We appreciate and share Congressman Pascrell’s passion for improving the ticketing industry and look forward to continuing our dialogue with him,” reads the opening of the statement, posted to Ticketmaster’s website. From there, it largely places blame for the price-surging tactics on ticket resellers and artists themselves, rather than its own programmatic decisions to push prices higher, which result in higher revenue for the publicly traded company.

As the resale ticketing market has grown to more than a $10 billion dollar industry over the past few years, artists and teams have lost that revenue to resellers who have no investment in the event going well or any of the people working behind the scenes to bring the event to life. As such, Event Organizers have looked to market-based pricing to recapture that lost revenue.

This is an important shift necessary to maintaining the vibrancy and creativity of the live music industry as artists and their crews become more and more reliant on touring. Like sports teams, artist representatives and promoters recognize the benefit of pricing tickets closer to market value.

The company says that complaints regarding the pricing for Springsteen shows were overblown, echoing comments from Springsteen’s manager in the initial wake of the controversy. Among its assertions are that “only” 1.3% of tickets sold on Ticketmaster for the tour were priced at more than $1,000 per ticket. The average price for tickets on the tour was $262, with more than 80 percent going for above $100.

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It should be noted that Ticketmaster did not directly respond to a number of Rep. Pascrell’s direct questions, including details about how its pricing strategies are determined, pricing and ticket availability transparency, variations in pricing based on venue locations, and much more. It is unclear if the company plans to issue a more detailed response to his questions.

The full response from Ticketmaster is included below:

We appreciate and share Congressman Pascrell’s passion for improving the ticketing industry and look forward to continuing our dialogue with him.

 

As the resale ticketing market has grown to more than a $10 billion dollar industry over the past few years, artists and teams have lost that revenue to resellers who have no investment in the event going well or any of the people working behind the scenes to bring the event to life. As such, Event Organizers have looked to market-based pricing to recapture that lost revenue.

 

This is an important shift necessary to maintaining the vibrancy and creativity of the live music industry as artists and their crews become more and more reliant on touring. Like sports teams, artist representatives and promoters recognize the benefit of pricing tickets closer to market value.

 

Here’s a look at how pricing decisions are made.

 

Event organizers decide how they want their tickets sold, Ticketmaster helps execute

  • Different events have different onsale parameters, which are determined by the Event Organizer – not Ticketmaster.
  • Ticketmaster does not determine pricing. Promoters and artist representatives set pricing strategy and price range parameters on all tickets, including dynamic and fixed price points.

Supply and demand drives pricing decisions

  • The biggest factor that drives pricing is supply and demand. When there are far more people who want to attend an event than there are tickets available, prices go up. If prices are under market value at the onsale, they resell on the secondary market at higher price points.
  • Similar to airlines and hotels, ticket prices adjust up or down based on demand. Event Organizers work with promoters to set pricing on all tickets, including dynamic and fixed price tickets.

Dynamic pricing is an industry tool offered by all major ticketing marketplaces

  • Dynamic pricing is about capturing more value for the artist at the initial onsale, vs that value going to people reselling tickets on the secondary market.
  • Dynamic pricing is just one tool that artists use to support pricing strategies.
  • Ticketmaster builds the technology to empower the strategy that the artist team sets.
  • Dynamic prices are informed by secondary info and the prices that most fans are ultimately paying anyway.
  • The secondary market sees over $10 billion in ticket sales and continues to grow rapidly. Through Ticketmaster, dynamic pricing has captured over $500 million for Event Organizers from resale markets in 2022 alone.

Concerts remain an affordable entertainment option

  • Demand for the best seats in the house has driven the average price for concert tickets up 10% globally this year, which remains largely in line with the rate of U.S. inflation.
  • The average price for entry level concert tickets is $33, up only 5% from 2019 not even keeping pace with inflation.

 

The recent Bruce Springsteen tour is a prime example of returning value to artists from the secondary market. Ticketmaster was not the only ticketing company selling primary tickets for the Springsteen tour, but the data is compelling. To give everyone a look at the real cost of Springsteen’s tickets sold on Ticketmaster, here’s a detailed breakdown of the prices.

 

  • First, there were 4+ ticketing marketplaces including Ticketmaster, AXS, SeatGeek, Paciolan – all selling primary tickets where tickets were dynamically priced.
  • On Ticketmaster:
    • 88.2% of tickets were sold at set prices
    • 11.8% of tickets were designated Platinum
  • On Ticketmaster, the average price of all tickets sold was $262:
    • Only 1.3% of total tickets across the shows on Ticketmaster sold for more than $1K
    • 56% were sold for under $200
    • 11% between $150 and $200
    • 27% between $100 and $150
    • 18% of all tickets sold were under $99

 

Finally, like Congressman Pascrell we believe there are more ways to improve the ticketing industry. Here’s a look at what we advocated to the FTC in 2019.

 

  • All-In Pricing – so that fans can see total price ahead of purchase (We also supported and advocated for all-in pricing legislation that just passed in New York State, and hope to see this law extended across the nation.)
  • Resale tickets showing the original price paid
  • Ban on speculative ticket selling so ticket buyers aren’t tricked into buying something that isn’t legit
  • Ban of deceptive sites that mischaracterize their relationship with Event Organizers and confuse consumers
  • Enforcement of federal and state anti-BOT Regulations so bad actors are held accountable when they break the law
  • Event creators having the ability to control or limit transfer of tickets so that they can deliver tickets to real fans at lower prices than market value and not have them resold at significantly higher prices on secondary

 

We look forward to discussing these solutions and more with Congressman Pascrell as we continue our dialogue and share our formal response.

Last Updated on September 7, 2022 by Dave Clark

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