The Black Keys Were Selling $500+ ‘Premium Tickets’ to Last Thursday’s Wiltern Show

Hundreds of Black Keys fans who purchased tickets on aftermarket sites like StubHub were denied entry to The Wiltern last Thursday.
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Hundreds of Black Keys fans who purchased tickets on aftermarket sites like StubHub were denied entry to The Wiltern last Thursday.
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Hundreds of Black Keys fans who purchased tickets on aftermarket sites like StubHub were denied entry to The Wiltern last Thursday (photo: Vince Duque IG: @vinceduquestories)

The high-priced, exclusive tickets to the Black Keys opening tour date were sold alongside $25 fan club tickets.

The Black Keys have been coming under fire for refusing entry to hundreds of fans who purchased aftermarket tickets for last Thursday’s show at The Wiltern.  In a statement to fans, the band refused to apologize, and insisted that only $25 tickets purchased through its fan club were being honored, with tickets from secondary sites like StubHub, VividSeats, and SeatGeek disallowed.

But the band was also selling extremely high-priced premium tickets with prices exceeding $500, according to information now confirmed by Digital Music News.  Those tickets were sold alongside the $25 primary tickets, with Live Nation-owned Ticketmaster handling transactions for both.  Even worse, fans who were unable to obtain the $25 seats were quickly offered the high-priced premium seats.

Of course, the buyers of Ticketmaster’s high-priced pre-sale tickets had no problem getting into the show, while buyers of tickets from secondary platforms like StubHub were denied entry.  As a result, hundreds of Black Keys fans were left standing outside the Wiltern Theatre, despite paying — in some cases — hundreds of dollars for entry.  Most seemed completely confused by the situation.

It’s unclear how many tickets were set aside for the band’s high-priced ‘premium’ pre-sale.

But according to multiple sources, the seats were specifically for the ‘Loge’ section of the Wiltern Theatre, a premium balcony area that offers perfect views of the stage.

Vince Duque, who initially logged onto the Black Keys fan site for a chance at the $25 ticket tranche, says Ticketmaster quickly offered him the high-priced alternative instead. Duque told DMN that the premium pre-sale tickets were ‘in the $400 or $500 range,’ which corresponds to a report from another Black Keys fan. Duque was trying repeatedly to score the $25 tickets, and even participated in two Instagram ‘scavenger hunts’ to get the tickets, without success.

According to another fan, limited-access seats were being sold by Ticketmaster at price points of $375, $475, and $575.  The highest-priced tickets appeared to be for the ‘Loge AA’ section at the Wiltern, which is a first-row balcony area.

Some of the high-priced pre-sale tickets may have also been reserved for Citi credit card holders.  At this stage, however, we’re unclear what Citi’s pre-sale ticket prices were, and how they were bundled into Citi’s broader marketing perks.

The discovery of an exclusive tranche of high-priced pre-sale tickets sharply contradicts an earlier statement by the band.

The statement was issued in response to a tirade of complaints from Black Keys fans.

“[Thursday night’s] concert tickets were $25 and geared toward the fan club,” the band stated. “This was our first show in over four years and the kickoff of the Let’s Rock Tour. Because we were playing a venue far smaller than the rest of the venues on the tour as a warmup show, we turned off ticket transferability to ensure that our fans got in the door at the low ticket prices we set for them.  Unfortunately, scalpers took this opportunity to defraud our fans and steal their money by selling tickets that were ineligible for transfer on scalper sites.”

But which ‘scalpers’ were authorized to sell to high-paying buyers?

In this case, the Black Keys were undoubtedly aware of the Ticketmaster premium pre-sale, given that the sales were happening directly from the band’s site.  Ticketmaster accused secondary sites of “defrauding and stealing” fans, while nothing was mentioned about the pre-sale exclusive ticketing offer.

The discovery is generating more outrage among fans who were turned away.  “So Citi can sell Premium Seating to this show for $575 each but 50% of all fans were denied entry because of non transferable tickets?” one fan tweeted.  “Not one place on Ticketmaster, Live Nation or any Black Keys emails did it state this fact.”

“Dick move by the band,” another stated.

As for Duque, he eventually paid $130 on SeatGeek after failing to get tickets at the venue.  He didn’t get into the show.  Ultimately, however, SeatGeek offered a full refund plus 20%.

Live Nation declined to comment on the pre-sale ticket sales.



14 Responses

  1. Black Keys Ex-Fan

    I paid $350 and didn’t get in. Guess I needed to pay $200 more. Thanks assholes!

    • Reading Rainbow

      Maybe you should pay for reading lessons. I had no issue with my tickets as I went to the show instead of trying to scalp ‘em. Hope you learned your lesson to not buy from the secondary market!

    • Billy Bob, US Regulator

      Not to mention regulatory action from US Dept of Justice. Rapino needs to smarten up this is just sloppy.

  2. The Truth

    Paul, you are a moron & as usual just looking to stir up shit. The ticketing pages CLEARLY stated that tickets weren’t transferable. So Stubhub were selling fake tickets – not the band or the venue’s fault. Lack of reading comprehension doesn’t equal an injustice…

    • jackdoublebassman

      Can someone just please provide screen shots where it says they were non-transferable?

      That would clear this up pretty quickly

      This has been extremely frustrating to understand

    • Ed

      >> The ticketing pages CLEARLY stated that tickets weren’t transferable.

      No, they sometimes stated that. Gotta get 100% on something like this,

      • common-sense-tony

        can someone just post the screenshots showing they were not transferable

        is it possible the fanclub website said they were not transferable?

        is it also possible the sales page did not mention anything about transfers?

        everyone is right and wrong at the same time depending which lens you look through

  3. CW Powers

    I logged into the fan club pre-sale when tix when on sale. ALL tix were $25, for all sections. There were no higher priced tix being offered.

  4. Sam

    So what? This doesn’t affect anything. Artists sell premium tickets all the time. Bottom line – don’t use scalpers. That’s it. Plain. Simple.

    • Johan S.

      Except The Black Keys ARE the scalper. So don’t buy from The Black Keys?

  5. Me

    Someone needs to investigate Ticketmaster for the racketeering they are doing. They have been quietly over charging fans through their new “Premium Seat” program for quite some time now, The Black Keys are by no means the first artist to partner with them in this scam. Under the guise of stopping ticket scalping and trying to crush the resale market in order to make it easier for “true fans” to get tickets to concerts they want to see, they have instead screwed fans royally by severely upcharging them for seats well above face value, even on ticket release day, which is completely unfair to the consumer as they are the only primary ticket source and fans have no other immediate way of buying. Can you imagine waiting in line at a ticket box office only to get to the window and have the clerk tell you that due to “excessive demand” those $25 tickets that you wanted will now cost you $350?? They claim that the surcharges profit the artist, not the reseller on the secondary markets… So somehow that’s considered fair?? No doubt their cut from the artist goes up exponentially the more money they rake in for the seats, so it just behooves them to keep charging more. All they are doing is monopolizing both the primary market and the secondary market by basically becoming both markets in one space.. all because they have he power to do so. Then they have the balls to implement non-transfer polices on top of this, forcing you to only buy through them. They make the Stubhubs of the world out to be the bad guys, all along while they screw everyone by choking the free market that is Stubhub and charging huge prices up front, reaping huge profits for the greedy artists that go along with this and huge profits for themselves off their fees and percentage contracts… And this has all flown under the radar for the most part until now, only coming to light after a second ticket related malpractice is exposed. My question is How is this LEGAL??? Investigate Ticketmaster.