Posted in industry | music on February 24, 2009

Bruce Springsteen ticket

"Ticketmaster faces a Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday about its plan to merge with Live Nation, but at least the company managed to resolve its conflict with the state of New Jersey just before the hearing takes place.

Bruce Springsteen's home state settled with the ticketing giant after fans filed thousands of complaints that Ticketmaster gouged them and others by directing them to its secondary ticketing market, TicketsNow, which offered tickets marked-up hundreds or even thousands of dollars above their asking price on the first day in which they were available.

As penance, the company paid New Jersey $350,000 and promised to compensate approximately 2,200 people who were overcharged as part of the flap, according to the Wall Street Journal (whose article can't be read without a subscription). Their means of compensation is a bit odd; out of those 2,200 disgruntled Springsteen fans, 1,000 will be entered in a random drawing to receive permission to purchase two tickets to another show on the tour without having to pay Ticketmaster's notoriously onerous convenience fees (so that's how you avoid those fees: by winning a lottery?).

In addition, Ticketmaster must erect a better wall between its primary and secondary ticketing businesses and must prove that it is selling its tickets first to the primary market, as opposed to injecting them directly into TicketsNow, whose auction style bidding generally results in higher prices.

Barry Diller, CEO of Ticketmaster, originally pinned blame for the foul-up on Visa. The company later clarified the problem was with its credit card billing system in general, which was overloaded by consumer interest in these shows -- never underestimate the popularity of Bruce Springsteen in the tri-state area.

Top brass from Ticketmaster and Live Nation will appear in a Justice Department hearing on Tuesday to determine whether they should be allowed to merge, called "The Ticketmaster/Live Nation Merger: What Does it Mean for Consumers and the Future of the Concert Business?" [WIRED]

Wired further points out that the hearing will be webcast starting at 2:30pm EST.

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Comments (28)

TICKETMASTER: "Uhhh, we don't fucking care."

NEW JERSEY: "Oh, okay."

Posted by Sacred Absolute Hipster Cow | February 24, 2009 10:19 AM

Big deal..so they pay a $350,000 fine. For the two Springsteen Shows 40,000 tickets at an average of $15 a ticket surcharge they are still clearing $250,000....

Posted by Anonymous | February 24, 2009 10:23 AM

What is the Dunkin' Donuts Center ? or maybe the better question is... what did it use to be ?

Posted by Anonymous | February 24, 2009 10:26 AM

Dunkin Center is in Providence, Rhode Island

Posted by Anonymous | February 24, 2009 10:43 AM

It was a pipe dream to think that the AG of New Jersey would confront the corruption at Ticketmaster/Live Nation. Good seats to marquee events will always, invariable end up in the hands of scalpers/brokers, subsidiaries of ticketmaster or otherwise. The public is powerless against these forces, and it's small potatoes compared to the bill we'll be holding for all the profits devoured by the fat cats and war profiteers of the last three decades...

Posted by Anonymous | February 24, 2009 10:53 AM

dunkin donuts center used to be the providence civic center

Posted by Anonymous | February 24, 2009 10:58 AM

Ticketmaster has never estimated demand correctly. How hard is it to have adequate servers/phone lines/ticket outlets for a company that tacks on so many service charges?

Posted by Anonymous | February 24, 2009 11:20 AM

Glitch my ass. This has been going on for months. The same thing hapened with the Dead show and who knows how many other shows.

I think the corruption goes well beyond the computer redirecting people to tickets now. It's ticketmaster posting the tickets directly to tickets now at 500% mark up and pocketing the money.

Posted by Anonymous | February 24, 2009 11:28 AM

Dunkin Donuts Center . . . HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!

Posted by Sharkdog | February 24, 2009 11:43 AM

I don't see how anyone could deny that Ticketmaster's owning TicketsNow isn't a huge legal (or at the least, ethical) problem. We need Sen. Chuck to get on this in earnest!

Posted by Anonymous | February 24, 2009 11:54 AM

Seriously and this live nation merger will only make things worse. I did not buy Hold Steady tickets when I found out that live nation has an $11 surcharge perticket (even worse than ticket master.) I figured it would be better to head to the box office than pay an extra $22 for the two tickets I planned to buy. Of course the joke was on me I got to the box office the afternoon they went on sale and the show was sold out. Now it is either not go or pay $90 per ticket to scalpers on ebay (which I won't obviously do.) So yeah the moral of the story is, we can never escape those rediculous fees.

Posted by Anonymous | February 24, 2009 12:05 PM

You know this has been bothering me for awhile. Companies like Live Nation and Ticketmaster have been taking advantage of customers for years. They never seem to be able to handle all the phone calls or people on the Internet trying to buy tickets and they have never upgraded to meet those needs completely. I remember when Pearl Jam upset a lot of fans by not touring because they refused to work with a company like Ticketmaster. I for one was upset with PJ because I wanted to see them live. I know understand their fight because I feel fans are getting raped by these companies by ticket fees. Last year alone I went to 20 shows. This year I already have 8 lined up. Yesterday I bought Keane tickets at the Tower in Philadelphia. The tickets are $32 dollars and the ticket fees from Live Nation are $15. That's almost half the ticket price. Not to mention you then have to pay for parking at these venues. Something needs to be done about these fees. I know it doesn't cost Live Nation $15 to mail and process my information for these tickets. We are in an economic crisis and the poor get poorer and the rich are getting richer. And now with Ticketmaster owning companies like TicketsNow, it throws a whole different wrench into the system. These CEO's are ripping off hard working people so they can sit back and take in the wealth. I would love protest some of these companies by not buying tickets, but then I miss out on some great bands. Something needs to be done.

Posted by Anonymous | February 24, 2009 12:05 PM

i truly help these guys get called out on this by our lazy government, not likely though, real music in nyc is hard to come by these days, but were doin the best we can with ogres and giants like this around.

Posted by down with live nation | February 24, 2009 12:05 PM

how about just say no to big acts for 2009? save your money and have a good time by going to see a band in small club.

Posted by Anonymous | February 24, 2009 1:16 PM

Small Club shows like Mercury, Filmore, Bowery, Maxwells still have sizable service charges.

Posted by Anonymous | February 24, 2009 1:19 PM

Let private companies do whatever they want...you freaken socialists.

Posted by Anonymous | February 24, 2009 1:47 PM

I will let private companies do what they want when you learn to spell, anon @1:47.

Posted by Anonymous | February 24, 2009 2:07 PM

I agree small venues and small bands are nice...I see a lot of bands like Mute Math, Hezekiah Jones, Blitzen Trapper, Frightened Rabbit and usually the fees for the venues they are playing at are cheaper. But I still want to see some of my favorite bands like Death Cab, U2, The Boss, etc. Most of these bands/venues use companies like Live Nation for their tickets. Live Nation charges an outrageous amount of money in fees. The only way to get around that is to talk to your local congress person about stopping mergers between TM and LN and not allowing TM to own companies like TicketsNow.

Posted by Anonymous | February 24, 2009 2:19 PM

people like Barry Diller should be shot.

Posted by Anonymous | February 24, 2009 2:26 PM

Once ticketweb was bought by ticketmaster and the bowery started using ticketmaster nyc shows pretty much became fucked with surcharges. Basically unless it is a DIY show you are going to pay at likea $7 extra per ticket for any show unless you can make it to the box office before a show sells out.

Posted by Anonymous | February 24, 2009 3:24 PM

when will the animal collective ticket buyers get justice

p.s. mercury + bowery sell their tickets through ticket master
and irving is live nation
maxwells is good money though

Posted by Anonymous | February 24, 2009 6:01 PM

Duggy Donuts...center? What a hole!

Posted by Anonymous | February 24, 2009 6:35 PM

fuck ticketmaster and fuck live nation!

Posted by Anonymous | February 24, 2009 6:46 PM

Just saw the Sadies at the Merc and it was 12 bucks plus 3 dollar service charge. It rocked.

Posted by Anonymous | February 24, 2009 7:04 PM

I think the merger will be a great opportunity for the industry.

Posted by Anonymous | February 24, 2009 11:43 PM

Ticketmaster provides a great service and convenience.

I'd much rather pay the service charges (and by the way, I heard from the Senate hearings today that the majority of the service charges are paid to Venues -- Tickemaster doesn't keep the majority of the convenience charges) than wait in line at a box office.

I don't think the majority of consumers understand the business model. Ticketmaster doesn't set ticket prices or control concerts. Artists do.

Get the facts.

Posted by Anonymous | February 24, 2009 11:47 PM

I understand they dont have control over the ticket prices, etc. But they do have control over the fees. Sure some might go to the venues, but the venues are also getting money from the guarantee from the bands that people will show up. The majority of those fees are going towards TM, LN, etc.

Posted by Anonymous | February 25, 2009 8:31 AM

You guys realize that while TM takes the brunt of the bashing the venues and artists are just as much to blame. A good portion of that $15 service fee also goes to the artists and venue. They too are making extra money off you. They just lump a few extra bucks in that "service fee" and just let everyone think TM is the evil company (when they are equally just as much to blame)

Posted by Sean | February 25, 2009 8:48 AM

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