Ticketmaster’s sales model has sparked anger, with some Cure fans saying the various fees applied to their transaction brought in more than the face value of their US tour ticket.
By means of Bethany Minelle, Arts & Entertainment reporter @Bethany Minelle
Friday, March 17, 2023 1:08 PM, UK
The Cure frontman Robert Smith says he persuaded Ticketmaster to partially refund the “excessively high” fees added to tickets for their US tour – in some cases more than the price of a ticket.
The 63-year-old singer shared his frustration with the prices on Twitter, telling followers he was “as sick as all of you” about the extra cost, and that he would be reaching out to the ticketing giant – which has the world’s largest ticket- giant is – sales marketplace – to seek answers.
Using his signature caps lock font, he wrote, “I’ve asked how they’re justified. If I get anything coherent through an answer, I’ll let you all know.”
The English rock bandknown for hits like Boys Don’t Cry and Friday I’m in Love, had maintained a low price on their tickets – some as low as $20 (£16) – in an effort to keep them affordable amid the cost of living crisis.
However, shortly after the tickets went on sale, fans shared screenshots of Ticketmaster shopping baskets, showing different rates for different locations.
One fan reported a $16.75 (£13.87) service charge in Massachusetts, while another fan said they paid $15 (£12.42) in Toronto.
A person who bought a $20 ticket showed the various costs — an $11.65 service fee and a $10 facility fee, plus a total order processing fee of $5.50 — all of which add up to more than the nominal value of the ticket.
The tickets were sold as part of Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan program, which allows fans to register for advanced sales in an effort to prevent tickets from being bought by touts and bots and resold at a massive markup.
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Following his first tweet on Thursday, Smith gave an update to fans: “After further discussion, Ticketmaster agrees with us that many of the fees being charged are excessive, and as a gesture of goodwill it has issued a refund of $ 10 per ticket offered to all verified fan accounts for lowest ticket price (“ltp”) transactions.
He said that all fans who purchased more expensive tickets would be refunded $5 per ticket for each show on the band’s US tour.
He also said refunds would be automatic for anyone who had already purchased a ticket, and that all future ticket sales would incur lower costs.
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Smith previously said the band, which formed in West Sussex in 1978, chose to use Ticketmaster to counter “scalping” – a term that refers to traders buying large numbers of tickets and reselling them for a profit.
He said they had refused to participate in the company’s dynamic pricing and platinum ticket programs because they didn’t want ticket prices to be “immediately and horribly distorted by resale.”
Musicians incl Taylor Swift, Drake, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartneyAnd Harry Styles all have previously used the dynamic pricing system, where ticket prices rise in line with demand.
However, there was a backlash to the system after individual tickets sold for thousands of dollars.
In the US, Ticketmaster is under investigation after its system was shut down overwhelmed by demand for Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour in November last year.
At the time, Swift described the situation as “unbearable”, while US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called for the break-up of Ticketmaster and Live Nation, which merged in 2010, claiming they had a “monopoly” on the live music industry.
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Sky News has contacted Ticketmaster and parent company Live Nation for comment.