Ticketmaster defends ticket price hike in response to Pascrell

Defending its role in soaring ticket prices, Ticketmaster issued an official statement this week in response to a letter responding from Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) following the massive controversy surrounding Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s 2023 tour were requested. Live Nation Entertainment’s ticketing company has been under fire for most of the summer as fans have expressed anger and frustration at the “platinum” and dynamic systems that have pushed up ticket prices as the company takes its Artist List has encouraged them to put them into practice – padding the bottom line to generate record-breaking revenue 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,” the statement, published on Ticketmaster’s website, read. From there, it largely blames the ticket resellers and artists themselves for the pricing tactics, rather than its own programmatic decisions, for driving up prices, resulting in increased revenue for the publicly traded company.

As the resale ticket market has grown to more than $10 billion in recent years, artists and teams have lost that revenue to resellers who don’t have the investment in making the event run smoothly or the people working behind the scenes to bring it the event to life. Because of this, event organizers have been looking to market-based pricing to recoup this lost revenue.

This is an important shift needed to keep the live music industry alive and creative as artists and their crews increasingly rely on touring. Like sports teams, artist representatives and event organizers are seeing the benefit of pricing tickets closer to market value.

The company says complaints about Springsteen show pricing were overblown, echoing comments made by Springsteen’s manager in the first wake of the controversy. Among his claims are that “only” 1.3% of tickets sold on Ticketmaster for the tour were priced more than $1,000 per ticket. The average ticket price for the tour was $262, with more than 80 percent costing over $100.

Ticketmaster’s full response is 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 ticket market has grown to more than $10 billion in recent years, artists and teams have lost that revenue to resellers who don’t have the investment in making the event run smoothly or the people working behind the scenes to bring it the event to life. Because of this, event organizers have been looking to market-based pricing to recoup this lost revenue.

This is an important shift needed to keep the live music industry alive and creative as artists and their crews increasingly rely on touring. Like sports teams, artist representatives and event organizers are seeing the benefit of pricing tickets closer to market value.

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

Organizers decide how their tickets should be sold, Ticketmaster helps with the implementation

  • Different events have different onsale parameters, set by the event organizer, not Ticketmaster.
  • Ticketmaster does not set prices. Promoter and artist representatives set pricing strategy and price range parameters for all tickets, including dynamic and fixed price points.

Supply and demand determine price decisions

  • The biggest factor driving pricing is supply and demand. When far more people want to attend an event than there are tickets available, prices go up. When onsale prices are below market value, they are resold on the secondary market at higher prices.
  • Similar to airlines and hotels, ticket prices are adjusted up or down based on demand. Event organizers work with event organizers to set the prices for all tickets, including dynamic and fixed price tickets.

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

  • Dynamic pricing is about getting more value to the artist in the first pre-sale, rather than that value going to people who resell tickets in the secondary market.
  • Dynamic pricing is just one tool artists use to support pricing strategies.
  • Ticketmaster develops the technology to support the strategy that the artist team sets.
  • Dynamic pricing is informed by secondary information and the pricing that most fans end up paying anyway.
  • The secondary market boasts over $10 billion in ticket sales and continues to grow rapidly. Through Ticketmaster, dynamic pricing has generated over $500 million for resale market organizers in 2022 alone.

Concerts remain an affordable entertainment option

  • Demand for the best seats in the house has pushed the average price for concert tickets worldwide by 10% this year, broadly in line with US inflation.
  • The median concert ticket price is $33, up just 5% from 2019, which isn’t even keeping pace with inflation.

The recent Bruce Springsteen tour is a prime example of value being returned to artists from the secondary market. Ticketmaster wasn’t the only ticketing company to sell primary tickets for the Springsteen tour, but the data is compelling. To give everyone an insight into the true cost of Springsteen tickets sold on Ticketmaster, here is a detailed breakdown of prices.

  • First, there were 4+ ticketing marketplaces including Ticketmaster, AXS, SeatGeek, Paciolan – all selling primary tickets with dynamic ticket prices.
  • At Ticketmaster:
    • 88.2% of the tickets were sold at fixed prices
    • 11.8% of the tickets were certified platinum
  • At Ticketmaster, the average price of all tickets sold was $262:
    • Only 1.3% of all tickets for the shows on Ticketmaster have sold for more than $1,000
    • 56% sold for less than $200
    • 11% between $150 and $200
    • 27% between $100 and $150
    • 18% of all tickets sold were less than $99

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

  • All-in Pricing – so fans can see the total price before making a purchase (We have also supported and endorsed the all-in pricing legislation that just passed in New York State and hope to see that legislation expanded statewide. )
  • Resale tickets at the price originally paid
  • Ban on speculative ticket sales so that ticket buyers are not tricked into buying something that is not legitimate
  • Ban fraudulent websites that misrepresent their relationship with event organizers and confuse consumers
  • Enforce federal and state anti-BOT regulations so bad actors are held accountable when they break the law
  • Event creators have the ability to control or limit the transfer of tickets, allowing them to deliver tickets to true fans at prices lower than market value and not have them resold at significantly higher prices on secondary tickets

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 7th, 2022 by Dave Clark

About Gloria Skelton

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