Posted in industry | music on February 5, 2009

alternate headline: Bruce Springsteen fans more mad at Ticketmaster than Phish fans were at Live Nation...

Tickets Now

Mr AngryYou may have noticed that sometimes when you try to buy a ticket at Ticketmaster, you are instead redirected to TicketsNow which is a scalper site owned by Ticketmaster. In turn, TicketsNow will offer to sell you the same exact tickets for a higher price. Ticketmaster describes it like this...

TicketsNow provides consumers access to live entertainment event tickets, no longer available via primary distribution channels, through its leading online marketplace where buyers and sellers meet in open exchange.

Tickets listed on TicketsNow come from licensed brokers, as well as from individual sellers. All tickets listed on TicketsNow are 100% authentic or your money back.

The potential shadiness involved there is pretty obvious, as a NJ politician pointed out in a letter he wrote to the federal government this week...
A New Jersey congressman has asked the federal government to investigate allegations that tickets to two Bruce Springsteen concerts were diverted to a ticket resale agency moments after they went on sale Monday morning.

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-8th Dist.) said his constituents complained that Ticketmaster, the primary ticket seller for the concerts, said tickets were sold out and directed consumers to its subsidiary, TicketsNow, a secondary marketplace where tickets were being offered for resale at three and four times the cover price.

Pascrell wrote a letter yesterday to the Federal Trade Commission and the antitrust division of the Justice Department asking them to "investigate the relationship between Ticketmaster and TicketsNow to ensure that the procedure for purchasing tickets remains fair to the average consumer."

"There is a significant potential for abuse when one company is able to monopolize the primary market for a product and also directly manipulate and profit from the secondary market," he wrote. "The speed with which tickets were made available on Ticketmaster's official resale site raises questions about whether TicketsNow brokers were given preferential treatment." [NJ.COM]

The Superbowl (halftime show) was Sunday, Bruce tickets went on sale Monday, and the above letter was in the papers on Wednesday (yesterday). In no time, both Ticketmaster and Bruce Springsteen personally responded with letters of their own...

Bruce Springsteen

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

AND FROM TICKETMASTER...
An Open Letter of Apology to Bruce Springsteen, Jon Landau and the entire Springsteen Tour Team:

While we were genuinely trying to do the right thing for fans in providing more choices when the tickets they requested from the primary on-sale were not available, we clearly missed the mark. Fans are confused and angry, which is the opposite of what we hoped to accomplish. We sincerely apologize to Bruce, his organization and, above all, his fans.

We recognize that we need to change our course. We have committed to Bruce and state publicly here that we have taken down all links for Bruce's shows directing fans from Ticketmaster to TicketsNow. This redirection only occurred as a choice when we could not satisfy fans specific search request for primary ticket inventory, but to make sure there is no misunderstanding in the future, we also publicly state that we will never again link to TicketsNow in a manner that can possibly create any confusion during a high-demand on-sale. Specifically, we will not present an option to go to TicketsNow from Ticketmaster without the consent of the artist and the venue, both of whom work together to bring the joy of live entertainment to millions of fans.

If any fans inadvertently purchased tickets in the resale marketplace believing in error they were purchasing from the initial on-sale, we will refund the difference between the actual purchase price and the face price of the ticket. (Please don't abuse this good faith gesture as we did not give brokers any preferential access to tickets.)

We are committed to helping deliver the most transparent and best live entertainment experience to fans. We will do better going forward.

Sincerely,

Irving Azoff, CEO, Ticketmaster Entertainment

This all comes in the wake of the news that Ticketmaster may merge with Live Nation (or maybe AEG). And it was only a week earlier that Live Nation, who recently stopped selling tickets through Ticketmaster, had angry customer problems of their own when LiveNation.com couldn't handle the traffic when Phish tickets went on sale. Live Nation has since promised to do better next time...
"When you have 10 million requests from your ticketing system and only 20,000 seats, there's going to be a line," says Nathan Hubbard, CEO of Live Nation Ticketing. "But we can do a better job going forward of messaging to them and handling the experience they have once they finally get through it and the tickets are sold out."

Indeed, most of the frustration expressed online seemed to be from fans who made it through much of the ticket-buying process before crashing off the site without completing the transaction, or those who spent what they felt was too much time in the ticket "waiting room" only to come away empty-handed. [Billboard]

In other news, Bruce Springsteen AND Phish are playing Bonnaroo. More Bruce tour dates here. Tickets for Bonnaroo go on sale this Saturday on... not LiveNation.com or Ticketmaster, but Bonnaroo.com

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Comments (42)

First Walmart and now Ticketmaster. Bruce is fucking slippin.

Posted by dola | February 5, 2009 11:26 AM

Fake proletariat schmuck.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 11:28 AM

Why would you people criticize Bruce here? Read his letter before you speak.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 11:31 AM

this is good news. Ticketmaster has been abusive for so long, and this might be the last straw. Springsteen has enough cache to enlist enough legislative support (who generally lick the toes of the BOSS, as he is a cultural icon larger than they), to pressure this unfair practice to stop. The Fact that the Boss is quite chummy with Obama, and Landau is connected with the intellectual and corporate elite ought to be enough to get something done.

Posted by dave Degregorio | February 5, 2009 11:36 AM

Not fair to criticize Bruce here. Before he started doing GA on the floor, he wouldn't sell the first 3 rows and random people in the cheap seats would get upgraded an hour before the show (this is not a urban myth and actually happened to me). He also holds back a significant amount of seats that go onsale a day or so before the show. Plus top seats go for less than $100 at every show, which certainly isn't cheap but it's far less than the $250 that Neil Young, Van Morrison, etc charge.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 11:39 AM

"Why would you people criticize Bruce here? Read his letter before you speak."

To clarify, I didn't speak, I wrote...even AFTER reading his letter. Conclusion: fake proletariat schmuck.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 11:42 AM

Hey, I love Bruce, but talking the talk doesn't cut it.
When Pearl Jam took a principled stand against Ticketmaster, nobody backed them up with action. REM might have paid some lip service, but that was it. Pearl Jam undertook a tour bypassing Ticketmaster contracted venues and took a big hit looking out for their fans.
If Bruce Springsteen and other huge draws put their bullshit into action, changes would have occurred.
Instead, they all continue to have their tours promoted by Live Nation, et al, tickets sold by Ticketmaster, etc. Live Nation was pissed that they weren't getting a big enough kickback, and that's why they decided to start their own rip off ticketing system.
And, now with Craig's List, Stub Hub, etc, everybody's scalping tickets.
I've been going to see live music for close to 40 years now. I had the opportunity to see just about everyone and not get raped doing it.
I feel bad for younger music fans who have to deal with this crap. Take my advice and stick to places like the Living Room, Joe's Pub, Barbes, Rodeo Bar, etc. You can see and hear great music in nice environments and support musicians who really need and deserve your support.
Having seen Springsteen in 1976 and 2007, there's no comparison. The '76 version was much better, and the audience wasn't full of neanderthals, either

Posted by respect | February 5, 2009 11:45 AM

oh well...

Posted by liveon35mm.com | February 5, 2009 11:58 AM

"Take my advice and stick to places like the Living Room, Joe's Pub, Barbes, Rodeo Bar, etc. You can see and hear great music in nice environments and support musicians who really need and deserve your support."

Come on. That's noble advice, but people want to see the Boss... and he ain't playing the Living Room.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 11:58 AM

Everyone should write their congressman an e-mail about this. Really easy to do. !. Find your Senator and Congressman (http://whoismyrepresentative.com/) 2. wrte a little note or copy what was sritten above 3. hit send.

Let Washington know how much this sucks!

Posted by Do it | February 5, 2009 12:02 PM

I hope that Ticketmaster crashes and burns.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 12:24 PM

Let's bring back the practice of camping out for days in front of the box office to score concert tickets!!!!

Posted by Regular reader | February 5, 2009 12:26 PM

The government needs to intervene with Live Nation/Clear Channel/Ticketmaster...they are all criminals. Music should be something that everyone can enjoy and everyone should have the same right to see his or her favorite act. Why does this article focus soley on Bruuuuuuce? What about every other act that performs at one of the over priced god awful Live Nation venues? Sign with Live Nation and you sign your music, life and sole to the Devil...

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 12:33 PM

"Let's bring back the practice of camping out for days in front of the box office to score concert tickets!!!!"

scalpers would just pay people to sit in line for them.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 12:34 PM

11:45

I couldn't agree more. Spot on!

Posted by UN:art:IG | February 5, 2009 1:04 PM

First, Bruce IS at fault here. If he really cared about the fans, he would come up with a solution like Pearl Jam or Tom Waits did. Will call tickets are the best option whenever feasible. At least certain sections should have will call only tickets. Even at a giant venue like MSG, it worked for AC/DC and Eric Clapton/Steve Winwood. A lot of people I know got great seats for these shows they would not have gotten otherwise.

Second, people should stop crying when they can't get tickets to certain shows. Everybody thinks they deserve to get tickets. Why? Because they started sitting at the computer and refreshing two hours before tickets are scheduled to go on sale like idiots! Because they are such long time fans, "bestest bestest fans ever!" The truth is tickets for Bruce are cheap for an artist of his popularity level. Even if there was no way of selling tickets on the secondary market, it would still be difficult to get any tickets or at least decent ones. The fact is, in a case like this, the secondary market actually allows people to get tickets at a fair market value however annoying it is to pay the premium. If all tickets were at will call, you would only be able to get tickets if you're fast or lucky enough when tickets went on sale and you would have no further option of getting tickets anywhere else. Also if and when you are able to buy will call tickets, you have no option of getting rid of them if you have to work late that day or your best friend schedules his/her wedding for the same date. There are pros and cons in each scenario.

Bruce playing an arena in NY/NJ for $100 a ticket is like Morrissey playing Bowery Ballroom. It's not possible that everybody will get tickets. He played several nights at Giant Stadium last summer. That was more the appropriate size for him and even those shows eventually sold out.

So unless you want to suggest something useful like the practice of will call tickets to Bruce, stop crying and blaming others for your bad luck or incompetence!

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 1:09 PM

reply to 1:09

you must work for Live Nation...you sound just like one of "them". Keep killing Music, seriously.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 1:13 PM

1:09 - you do bring up a good point about will call tickets. Plans change. I got stuck with Okkervil River tickets at the Bell House because Bell House is will call only and I had to go out of town. Would have been nice to have sold them on as it was a sold out show and someone left out would have liked to have attended.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 1:22 PM

Yeah, I hate will call. Plans change & it's a pain in the ass to pass them off to friends or whatever. Or it's difficult if someone in your party has to arrive late b/c of work or whatever. I would much rather have hard tickets... even if it runs a much bigger risk of 3rd party scalping.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 1:29 PM

ticketmaster has been at this for years. they only put a small fraction of the tickets up for sale to the general public, and the brokers/scalpers all have claims to the good seats before they even go on sale to the public. why would ticketmaster arrange for this? because money is changing hands. this system has been corrupt for a long time, and it's about time people in the government started taking notice, instead of just taking campaign contributions from these criminal enterprises aka the music/promotion industry.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 1:37 PM

i'm a huge springsteen fan/apologist... however after the walmart thing, the backing track at the superbowl, and this i have to say he needs to get his house in order. pearl jam would never allow any of those three things to happen. he is blaming all these things on others but he is the BOSS he should know what's going on in his organization.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 1:59 PM

thsi has been going on for months and months and mother fucking months- guess what5- i stoped buying my tickets from ticketbastard and i show up out front of the show or box office and get in for cheaper than the bullshit prices everyones charging- fuck these sites- and fuck teh artists for robbing the good people too

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 2:04 PM

Bruce...**yawn**.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 2:18 PM

This makes perfect sense and the exact same thing hapened for the Dead show at MSG. The Dead had presale for the Dead mailing list. The presale for MSG was over in 15 minutes and only a very small portion of tickets were released (5-10%). When the show went onsale to the general public it was already sold out. That means that 80-90% of the tickets were sold to private ticket brokers or directly to tickets now. As if the 30-50% fees for tickets isn't corrupt enough, now we have to deal with this BS. So for a $100 ticket the basic fan now has to pay $300. If the band isn't getting any of these extra profits then the government really should look into this corruption. Better then spending millions and millions trying to nail Barry Bonds.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 2:59 PM

Whether Bruce is sincere or not is one thing, but TM doesn't give a FUCK either way. Wow, they agreed to not automatically redirect you to their uber ass rape page when the normal ass rape page shuts you out of tix? They've really changed their ways! What a load of shit. For big shows like the Boss, a huge percentage of tix are spoken for before the opening bell goes off, and guess what? They're going to scalping agencies who will then give TM kickbacks through pre-determined agreements. Scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.

The only legitimate way to ensure that tix get in the hands of fans w/o having to deal with scalpers is to do presales, preferably with will-call pickup and/or with case specific password protection, that offer non-transferable tix. Can't make the show? Tough shit. You wanted a ticket and you got it, deal with it. I'd much rather take the risk of getting sick or having to be out of town and eat my tix than have to claw my way through TM's bullshit onsales and peruse offensive scalper sites that are offering loads of "great seats" before the shit is even on sale. This racket really needs to be addressed, it's fucking ridiculous.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 3:00 PM

so who do we write our complaints to? If I knew corrupt tickemaster would have paid the difference then I would have bought the best possible seat for the Dead from tickets now.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 3:23 PM

the only true way to deal with this is to actually confront the supply/demand issue head on. the tickets should all be held at dutch auction, with the highest bidder for a particular seat winning it.

setting artificially low prices only exacerbates the issue (in this case, whatever face value is assigned to a hot show), and causes graft issues when people (aka brokers or other resellers) want to get their hands on them.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 3:43 PM

"reply to 1:09

you must work for Live Nation...you sound just like one of "them". Keep killing Music, seriously."

1:09 here. My job is not even remotely related to music industry. I'm a music fan who goes to shows almost every other night. Why would I suggest will call tickets, if I was one of "them?" Most of the time I get into a show one way or the other. If you try hard enough, you almost always can. And whenever I can't, I accept the fact. I am just tired of people bitching and moaning and blaming others every time they can't get tickets for a show at first try.

That said, I also believe in some cases some people/companies get preferential treatment in acquiring the best seats before they even go on sale. That is wrong! Everybody should have the same chance in getting the tickets. I don't think this happens every time though, as I have been able to get good seats many times in the past. Yet people still complain every time.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 4:00 PM

3 shows a week, eh? what were your top 100 shows from 2008?

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 4:31 PM

Im not 1:09 but I go to about 3 shows a week too, I went to 11 shows in January. I must have went to over a 1000 shows in my lifetime, never once in my life did I buy a ticket from a scalper or a reseller, even when they were offering below cost. It can be done.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 4:42 PM

^^
It CAN be done, but a lot of the time you have to be willing to go all the way to the venue to score, and when you live in NYC and that venue is the Meadowlands or Jones Beach or PNC or Camden or (insert venue of choice), it's kind of a pain and really sucks if you come up empty handed.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 4:54 PM

i wonder how many rows from the back i'll be sitting for bonnie prince billy at the apollo, after i take the morning off, credit card in hand for the 10am on-sale... i could probably reserve front row right now at some of ticketmaster's favored brokers though.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 5:02 PM

what's that little red character/drawing up top from again? some old school stuff and i'm blanking? help

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 5:33 PM

There is an ad for TicketsNow on the right side banner of this post as I read this site now!

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 5:46 PM

Ha! And this is fucking great, a banner ad for TicketsNow just popped up when I hit "Submit" on the last post. Way to go BV, shilling for the man in the same post criticizing the man.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 5:47 PM

FUCK TICKET MASTER

Posted by Jon | February 5, 2009 6:19 PM

To 5:33, I believe that's from the Mr. Men book series. Mr. Angry, if I'm not mistaken.

As for the topic, I'm all for legislation outlawing all scalping of tickets. I just don't see it as a legitmate form of business. There is absolutely no value added by scalpers. There entire business model is buying something faster than you so they can sell it to you for more. Indefensible

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 9:18 PM

Their entire business model...

Of course you notice these things right after you hit Submit.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 9:21 PM

Imagine what would happen if people became this angry about things that are actually important.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 9:48 PM

"what's that little red character/drawing up top from again?"
I was wondering the same thing? Is that a Sweet Pickle?

Who's Bruce Springsteen?

Posted by Anonymous | February 6, 2009 8:58 AM

wouldn't you love to punch ticketmaster in the balls? if ticketmaster was a person with balls.

Posted by Anonymous | February 6, 2009 5:47 PM

ull like it.. if u hate ticketmaster :D The Walking Dead - Ticketmaster Apocalypse - http://www.fanarchist.com/blog/the-walking-dead-ticketmaster-apocalypse/

Posted by The Fanarchist | June 14, 2013 5:14 AM

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