Everybody Stay Calm: Ticketmaster Isn’t Doing Away With Service Charges Anytime Soon

Nov 21st, 2008 // 2 Comments

Ticketmaster may be engaging in a couple of isolated experiments where it does away with marking up the cost of its tickets through added surcharges, but don’t worry, capitalist types: The charges, which have the potential to inflate the cost of a night out by, um, a lot, aren’t going away completely. Instead, they’re just being rolled into the face value of the ticket–because hey, executives have to eat too, right?

But during Wednesday’s “Two Tickets to Paradise” panel, Live Nation executive vp business development and strategy Greg Bettinelli said the eliminated convenience fees still will factor into ticket prices. Even so, Ticketmaster senior vp Joseph Freeman noted that concertgoers likely will be less agitated if add-on fees don’t appear on their credit card bills.

“I’ve had so many family and friends tell me over the years that they’ll happily pay $100 for a ticket, but the $90-plus-$10 drives them bonkers,” Freeman said.

Tickets.com chief commercial officer Derek Palmer agreed that additional ticket charges will not go away because “there are actual costs involved,” he said. “We spend millions of dollars every year in infrastructure to provide these technologies.”

Millions, do you hear? (Although couldn’t that amount be grossed by, I don’t know, one Madonna tour’s worth of surcharges?) Expect to spend more on tickets–unless, of course, you hit the secondary market, where tickets these days are going for way below face value, as one secondary reseller tells it:

Meanwhile, on the secondary market, TicketNetwork CEO Don Vaccaro said, “we’re seeing a greater amount of tickets being sold for less than face value, which is a very bad trend. At the end of the day, consumers feel that they’re paying too much for tickets at the boxoffice when they see the secondary market selling tickets for less. It’s embarrassing for some artists and teams.”

On the flip side, secondary ticketing Web sites are seeing more traffic from concertgoers “because they know that they will get great seats, and for much less than what the primary sellers charge them,” Vaccaro said.

Something seems off with the economics here, no? It’s like as if a factory outlet of an overpriced store was overtaking its store in sales, and all the while the people at top were ignoring lessons about things like price elasticity.

Ticketmaster charges to stay — in some way [Billboard via Hollywood Reporter]

  1. Marth

    Someone tell the mayor to light up the Vedder Signal!

  2. mcjhn

    why blame capitalist types? in decent capitalist system there would be a free-market, transparency and competition, the problem here isn’t capitalism rather the lack of it

    its a bit of protectionism and misinformation (socialist tendencies) on the companies part as far as I can tell

    hope it doesn’t catch on, the biggest pisstake is when they charge you £1.50 for printing off a ticket

    p.s. good on Obama and the other socialists for giving $25’000’000’000 bail out to the most polluting industry in human history….!!

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