Ticketmaster’s ‘dynamic pricing’ algorithms quickly pushed Bruce Springsteen ticket prices into the $5,000 range — even for ‘okay’ seats.
Fans are outraged to find tickets for Bruce Springsteen’s 2023 arena tour selling for as high as $5,000 on the opening day of sales. It was a rude introduction for many to Ticketmaster’s “dynamic pricing” platform, where “platinum tickets” fluctuate in price in response to ongoing demand.
Tickets defined as “platinum” may be placed anywhere in the arena, from the front row to the back. The system allows ticket prices to rise to an amount theoretically comparable to what resellers would get, enabling the extra money to stay in-house for the artist and promoter. But even veteran concertgoers who are very familiar with the idea of variable pricing have to wonder if even scalpers would be asking $5,000 for okay-but-not-front-of-house seats.
“Tampa mid-floor for $4,400, anyone?” A tweet from Springsteen fan magazine Backstreets included a screenshot of the price for one seat for the tour’s opening night. Other fans chimed in with screenshots of their own unusually pricy ticket offers.
Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan system combined with quickly-escalating prices, if designed to discourage scalpers, leaves some fans questioning how successful that is. Seating charts for the Tulsa, Oklahoma arena show that resellers had already put up about a fifth of the total seats on Ticketmaster’s resale program. The program enables individuals to set their own prices for the resale of purchased tickets.
This is not the first time the dynamic pricing system has sparked fan anger. Paul McCartney or Harry Styles fans have watched highly-coveted tickets rocket in price before their eyes. Still, few in the industry can recall tours in which the face value for most seats grew by ten times or more in a matter of hours, resulting in $4,000 or more just to be on the floor.
Neither representatives for Springsteen nor Ticketmaster have commented on the prices. Veteran E Street Band guitarist Stevie Van Zant — the only person associated with the tour to respond thus far — tweeted, “I have nothing whatsoever to do with the price of tickets. Nothing. Nada. Niente. Bubkis. Dick.”
As tickets for more cities on the tour become available in the next few days, it remains to be seen how prices will fluctuate. If the system remains as it is, the end result may be a lot of disgruntled fans over the next week.