Music

Ticketmaster’s Platinum tickets are hurting fans

While obtaining tickets on Ticketmaster should be a breeze, it’s beginning to feel a lot more like misery business.

On the morning of July 20, thousands of dedicated Paramore fans prepared to purchase tickets for their forthcoming 2022 tour through Ticketmaster, expecting to pay face value prices no higher than $100 per ticket. As a fan for nearly 15 years, I had considered purchasing tickets when Paramore announced their tour earlier this month. However, my hopes were quickly crushed when I logged onto Twitter and saw Paramore trending: Within minutes of Ticketmaster opening the sale, most of the tickets were sold out before fans were able to purchase them.

Even more discouraging: Those freshly sold tickets were being immediately listed for resale on Ticketmaster. And their prices were drastically higher than the original ticket prices — ranging from $300 to a whopping $8,000 per ticket.

As of right now, the only tour stop of the 12 dates spared from ticket resellers is the Oct. 14 show in Bonner Springs, Kansas, for which tickets are still available as low as $36. The rest of the shows are either sold out or only have the more expensive resale tickets available for purchase. Quite understandably, Paramore fans are frustrated that Ticketmaster resales are throwing otherwise affordable concert tickets out of their budgets, preventing them from seeing Paramore on tour again for the first time since 2018.

“After two years of turmoil, stress and lack of live music, it was exciting for me to have the opportunity to see my favorite band again,” Bailey Sandin, a DJ at CD 92.9 FM and long-time Paramore fan, told Mashable. “But to be locked out and quite frankly, not be able to afford tickets because of Ticketmaster’s lack of actual policy that helps the average concertgoer, and because of scalpers and box and people easily gaming the system, I can’t go. And I’m not special, I’m not the only one.”

Sandin was selected by Ticketmaster for the presale as part of the company’s Verified Fan feature, which was created to prevent bots from obtaining tickets before fans did. However, despite logging on at 10:10 am (the Verified Fan presale ticket began at 10 am), Sandin and many other fans were unable to obtain tickets before resellers did. Fans took to Twitter to express their frustration with Ticketmaster:

“This is not just a matter of ‘Oh, I can’t see my favorite band,'” said Sandin. “This is a matter of locking out an entire demographic, an entire group of people from enjoying the great equalizer, which is music. Music and concerts shouldn’t be luxuries that make you go bankrupt.”

It’s not the first time that fans have had difficulties obtaining tickets through Ticketmaster. It happens for nearly every in-demand tour. In early July, people were similarly unable to afford Bruce Springsteen concert tickets — which were going as high as $4,000 because of Ticketmaster’s “Official Platinum” feature that adjusts ticket prices in real time based on demand. According to Michael Rapino, the chief executive officer of Live Nation Entertainment (which is the parent company of Ticketmaster), the dynamic pricing feature is intended to reflect both the true value of the tickets and help artists maximize their profits from ticket sales.

“We’re the only product out there that is worth more the second it’s sold,” said Rapino in an interview for the podcast The Compound & Friends in May. “Generally in business, you just actually do price to the market, but we’re dealing with the artist brand and what makes sense.”

While the feature is helping artists make more money from tours, they’re unfortunately doing so at the expense of their fans. In March 2022, John Oliver broke down why Ticketmaster is so disliked by consumers, with reasons varying from ticket scalpers who snatch up tickets and resell them, to the musical artists who only allot a small number of tickets to the public directly. Ticketmaster did not respond to Mashable at the time of publication.

SEE ALSO:

John Oliver breaks down why Ticketmaster sucks so much

Despite a large number of Paramore fans unable to obtain tickets to see their favorite band on tour again, this most recent Ticketmaster debacle is a reminder of the strength of the fandom. Some fans that were selected for the Verified Fan feature offered up their extra presale codes if they were buying less than the limit of four tickets, while others are selling their extra tickets at face value, ensuring that at least some folks who were locked out of the Ticketmaster sale would be able to attend one of the shows.

Sandin hopes that in the future, Ticketmaster puts a cap on the price of resale tickets, so that more people are able to purchase tickets at an affordable price. A few bands have been known to combat Ticketmaster’s selling practices, notoriously Pearl Jam until just recently, to discourage reselling at steep prices. Unfortunately, it seems as though most venues and artists seem to go with Ticketmaster because of its variable pricing model. And that model is intended to price out scalpers by selling tickets at a more premium price point. However, it only makes Ticketmaster seem like the real scalpers.

Given the state of Ticketmaster’s system, it’s easy for fans to feel powerless. But there are some independent resale marketplaces trying to put fans first. Sites like Twickets and Ticketpass claim to be more ethical through fairer reselling models and donating ticket profits to charities. Still, that does little to assuage fans’ ticketing anxiety.

“It’s heartbreaking to me because live music is an experience where you can just stand and scream into the void, and everyone in that stadium is your best friend for those three, four hours that you’re there. I just hate seeing the average person being locked out of that,” said Sandin. “Life is hard enough and we just went through a hell of a two years. The very least you should be able to scream your little heart out to ‘Hard Times.’”

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