I think we’ve all probably paid a little more than we wanted to for a concert ticket before.
But lately, it seems like the prices get higher and higher every time a new show goes on sale, with several big artists announcing huge tours in the last few weeks that are already at absolutely astronomical prices.
Just a couple weeks ago, for example, George Strait announced seven stadium shows with Chris Stapleton, and those presale tickets were already starting at around $500 a piece, ranging easily into the thousands for the best seats in the house.
I’m sure inflation plays a small part in that too, but this has been an issue that’s been around since companies like Ticketmaster became the main distributer of event tickets, as opposed to people actually having to go wait in line or call a venue directly to buy them.
And their Dynamic Pricing, which leaves a certain percentage of tickets to have pricing determined by the demand, guarantees that a hot ticket will run fans thousands and thousands of dollars.
And outside of country music, artists like Bruce Springsteen and Taylor Swift have drawn criticism over their insanely high ticket prices lately, but unfortunately, a lot of the prices and sales are completely out of their hands.
Sure, they have some say in terms of how much or little they want their shows to cost, but ultimately, Ticketmaster can tack on whatever fees they want to jack up the prices and make a large profit, in addition to allowing scalpers to resale tickets on their site which is the real issue here.
We’ve all seen the pointless “service fees” that easily add an extra $20-$30 plus to a ticket, which is all regulated by the ticketing giant. And it’s not just them, plenty of other ticketing sites do the same thing to maximize their profit, but they’re by far the biggest and most recognizable in the music industry and beyond.
According to More Perfect Union, Ticketmaster’s scam fees now cost as much as 78% of a ticket, which is just mind boggling to think about paying over triple the price of what a ticket is really worth:
“Ticketmaster’s scam fees now cost as much as 78% of a ticket. The company controls the events, the venues, even the artists and it’s destroying live music.”
We’ve seen country artists like Eric Church try and do what he can to ensure more fans and less scalpers get ahold of tickets, which involves a pretty complex process and joining his fan club with a lot of tedious steps, but by and large, it’s the best attempt I’ve seen of an artist trying to keep prices low for their fans.
With country being such a tour-heavy industry, it can be incredibly frustrating for people who, even if they’re ready to buy tickets as soon as they go live, end up losing to bots and programs run by scalpers to snag those tickets as quick as they go on sale.
And a few days ago, President Joe Biden announced that the Federal Trade Commission is working on regulations aimed at cracking down on these kinds of fees, specifically mentioning those that come along with buying concert tickets:
“And we’re just getting started. There are tens of billions of dollars in other junk fees across the economy, I’ve directed my administration to reduce or eliminate them.
Last week, the Federal Trade Commission started work on a rule to crack down on unfair and deceptive fees, across all industries. Fees that were never disclosed. Never disclosed.
And there was no way to avoid the fee, like processing fees for concert tickets.”
A week or so ago, Zach drew the ire of fans who were understandably complaining to him on Twitter about the crazy mark up for his concert tickets.
Notably, his upcoming show at Red Rocks has them running easily in the $2,000-plus range, which is beyond what any person should every pay to see anybody perform live, and I think Zach would agree with that.
He acknowledged how outrages it was himself, noting that there really wasn’t much he could do and that it’s, unfortunately, mostly out of his hands:
not trying to be an ass, just done my research and asked a lot of fans what they’ve paid for tickets after a few my shows, this isn’t directed at you personally at all
He continued, adding that he makes no money off of the resale tickets (which is 100% true), and saying he wished he could be his own ticketing distributor at will call in every city… isn’t that the dream.
Here’s some of his other tweets about Ticketmaster and the ticket price problem plaguing the music industry right now:
also want to make it clear that resale ticket prices have no correlation in how much I get from shows! I have consistently tried so so so hard to make tickets as cheap as they could possibly be https://t.co/RZghpHhlJU
Of course, the federal government enforcing regulations in any industry can be a slippery slope, so it’s unclear what exactly the FTC is going to realistically do in order to quell this issue.
Really, at the end of the day, it’s unfair to the artists and the fans, because the artists make none of the profit from the resale market, either.
It just simply sucks that hard working people are forced to choose to pay these ridiculous prices to see their favorite artist who rolls through town maybe once a year if they’re lucky, or not go at all.
And it remains to be seen if and when these new regulations will even help keep ticket prices at bay, so stay tuned, because I have a feeling there will be much more on this in the coming months.