Fans shopping for tickets to Drake’s It’s All A Blur Tour with 21 Savage this week were shocked by the ticket prices, taking to social media to complain during the first day of the multi-tiered sales process on Wednesday. Fans looking to purchase tickets through an exclusive release of tickets for Cash App customers found tickets priced up to and over $1,000 in some locations, and several hundred dollars for most seats as the artist’s approval of the use of dynamic pricing surged ticket prices as high as their consumer data told them they could.
As a result, tickets that had been advertised as being available at a “face value” of $69 were being sold for more than $200.
Fans, similarly to those of a growing list of artists to enable dynamic ticket pricing practices like Bruce Springsteen, Adele, The Weeknd, voiced their anger over the outrageous prices being charged during the presale.
Drake ticket prices are wild for the Atlanta show. I didn’t even pay this to see Beyoncé pic.twitter.com/RbZAMOHd8i
— … (@Iamnishhh) March 15, 2023
$200+ for nosebleed drake tickets is criminal…. TICKETMASTER YOU WILL CRUMBLE pic.twitter.com/NTd2t5eFCF
— yassmin ♥ (@yassminziad) March 15, 2023
Drake lost his mind with these tour prices let’s be fr 💀
2 floor tickets legit equal my rent 😭 pic.twitter.com/yD0wWrxH9U
— 𝖘𝖚𝖙𝖆𝖓𝖆𝖎 ♡ (@NINETYSlX) March 15, 2023
For those who haven’t had the displeasure of experiencing the post-pandemic surge ticket pricing reality that consumers are faced with in most onsales now, dynamic pricing is simple – it attempts to charge fans the maximum ticket prices that an event promoter or their artist thinks that consumers will pay for tickets during the initial sales process. In defending the pricing system, it is typically explained that the ticket prices being charged reflect what consumers would be paying on the secondary market for those seats, instead capturing that revenue for the artist.
From Ticketmaster’s explainer on the practice, which was posted to its website in September of 2022 following a string of bad press related to consumers feeling ripped off by their favorite artists, who authorized the surged ticket pricing system’s use:
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 fixed and market-based price points.
The downside to that being that it means everyone buying tickets to an event is being charged the maximum “scalper” price, rather than a small fraction of them who miss the initial sales process. It also doesn’t take into account the fact that the primary sale typically hides huge percentages of unsold tickets from consumers, holding them back from sale to be released at a later date. This forces consumers to believe that an event is sold out or close to it, and that they should pay the surged prices in order to avoid missing out (and then paying even more for tickets on resale marketplaces).
In many instances, the increased use of dynamic ticket pricing has flipped the ticket market on its head, making tickets on resale marketplaces far more affordable to those who wait until late in the process to purchase tickets, scooping up once held-back tickets for a fraction of what those sitting in nearby seats paid during the intial price surge. Just look at the Taylor Swift Reputation tour and massive discounts and giveaways, or the more recent Bruce Springsteen show in Tulsa for examples.
Drake’s tour sale being held at the same time as The Cure’s also provides a useful juxtaposition on the different methods that ticket pricing is pushed upwards by primary sellers. The Cure opted to avoid “dynamic” and “platinum” pricing entirely, with singer Robert Smith calling the entire system “A GREEDY SCAM.” But then the ticket fees for those shows were set at an amount that was typically higher than the band itself was charging for the tickets, causing outrage from fans and Smith alike:
I AM AS SICKENED AS YOU ALL ARE BY TODAY'S TICKETMASTER 'FEES' DEBACLE. TO BE VERY CLEAR: THE ARTIST HAS NO WAY TO LIMIT THEM. I HAVE BEEN ASKING HOW THEY ARE JUSTIFIED. IF I GET ANYTHING COHERENT BY WAY OF AN ANSWER I WILL LET YOU ALL KNOW. X
— ROBERT SMITH (@RobertSmith) March 16, 2023
Drake’s fans are experiencing the opposite end of the spectrum, and it’s not the first time. Tickets to Drake’s co-headlining show with Ye last fall were surge priced as well, and done so aggressively that the demand for the show cratered. Will we see the same for Drake’s tour? There are remaining presales open this week, with general sale set to begin on Friday, March 17. We likely won’t know if prices are going to fall until much closer to show dates, as held-back tickets are released, similar to what we’re seeing with Taylor Swift tour dates on her Eras Tour.
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DRAKE: ‘IT’S ALL A BLUR’ 2023 TOUR DATES
Fri Jun 16 – New Orleans, LA – Smoothie King Center
Mon Jun 19 – Nashville, TN – Bridgestone Arena
Wed Jun 21 – Houston, TX – Toyota Center
Sat Jun 24 – Dallas, TX – American Airlines Center
Wed Jun 28 – Miami, FL – Miami-Dade Arena
Sat Jul 01 – Atlanta, GA – State Farm Arena
Sun Jul 02 – Atlanta, GA – State Farm Arena
Wed Jul 05 – Chicago, IL – United Center
Thu Jul 06 – Chicago, IL – United Center
Sat Jul 08 – Detroit, MI – Little Caesars Arena
Tue Jul 11 – Boston, MA – TD Garden
Wed Jul 12 – Boston, MA – TD Garden
Fri Jul 14 – Montreal, QC – Bell Centre
Mon Jul 17 – Brooklyn, NY – Barclays Center
Tue Jul 18 – Brooklyn, NY – Barclays Center
Tue Jul 25 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
Wed Jul 26 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
Fri Jul 28 – Washington, DC – Capital One Arena
Mon Jul 31 – Philadelphia, PA – Wells Fargo Center
Sat Aug 12 – Inglewood, CA – Kia Forum
Sun Aug 13 – Inglewood, CA – Kia Forum
Fri Aug 18 – San Francisco, CA – Chase Center
Mon Aug 21 – Los Angeles, CA – Crypto.com Arena
Tue Aug 22 – Los Angeles, CA – Crypto.com Arena
Fri Aug 25 – Seattle, WA – Climate Pledge Arena
Mon Aug 28 – Vancouver, BC – Rogers Arena
Fri Sep 01 – Las Vegas, NV – T-Mobile Arena
Tue Sep 05 – Glendale, AZ – Desert Diamond Arena
Last Updated on March 16, 2023 by Dave Clark