No better way to sign off from a busy day of blogging than with a rant. So you know what really chaps my hide? Ticketmaster! Yeah, very original, I know. But, having worked in media for several years now and having rarely gotten myself on a concert guest list–unlike the majority of music writers I know, including this site’s regular editors (well, I did get on maybe once, but I was the plus-one, not the one to be plussed). So I’ve had to deal with the likes of Ticketmaster from time to time, what with their fees and their charges and their evil fees and charges.
I was thinking about this today after reading this article about Ticketmaster suing eBay, claiming that StubHub (which eBay owns) has “induced artists’ representatives or promoters to demand tickets from Ticketmaster’s venue clients as part of a deal to bring an act or sports team to a location.” Confusing, huh? I’m not even sure I understand that last sentence. Even more confusing (and disconcerting) is that Ticketmaster may actually have a case here against eBay. There’s something wrong with that. Ticketmaster shouldn’t be able to sue anyone. Ever.
Why? Let me illustrate why with a personal financial anecdote. This past Wednesday I went to see Son Volt at what used to be known as Irving Plaza (I didn’t go so much for Son Volt, but for Jason Isbell from the Drive-By Truckers, who’s gone solo, and who’s fantastic). This is what I was charged:
ADULT Tickets US $22.50 x 1
Total Convenience Charge $7.00
Order Processing Charge $4.85
TOTAL CHARGES $34.35
That’s almost twelve dollars on top of the ticket price. Twelve! That’s two beers. Actually, that’s almost another entire ticket at a place like the Mercury Lounge. And the sad part is that the outrage against Ticketmaster, with their exclusive venue rights and ability to rob concertgoers probably peaked ten years ago, so most people just take in stride the fact that they have to pay more than half as much again in obscure and (likely) unnecessary fees.
So, is Ticketmaster to blame? Of course. But are we to blame too? Clearly. Young people, teenagers, college students, twenty-somethings should be taking up arms (metaphorically–not actually picking up spare limbs) against this rampant exploitative capitalism. Alas, we all gave up the fight years ago, and so instead we spend our time blogging about indie-rock websites and polar-bear music videos, rather than taking action. What we need is someone famous to lead the way, like a Bono for impoverished concertgoers instead of impoverished third-world citizens (not that I’m saying the two are even on the same level of importance). What we need is a musician-activist, what we need is someone like Eddie Vedder!
Oh, wait…forgot about this. Dammit. We’re doomed!