Earlier this month, Ticketmaster’s “dynamic pricing” algorithms drove the price of Bruce Springsteen tickets as high as $5,000 – prompting pushback from fans in the process. Now, The Boss’s manager has officially responded to the criticism, defending the tickets’ “fair” average cost.
The ultra-expensive Springsteen tickets entered the media spotlight about one year after the New Jersey native’s Broadway show made headlines for its own pricey passes. But this latest controversy has brought with it larger charges yet, which are being fueled in part by Ticketmaster’s mentioned “dynamic pricing” as opposed to scalpers.
This feature causes the cost of “platinum tickets” – which, despite their name, are attached to seats from the front row to the back – to fluctuate based upon demand. At the time of writing, (standing-only) general-admission passes to Springsteen’s February 1st, 2023, concert in Tampa were “dynamically” priced at $795 apiece plus fees, for instance.
(Ticket prices are similarly inflated for most all of the seats at the performances that went on sale yesterday, in Philadelphia, State College, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.)
Of course, the revenue potential of the pricing algorithm is significant, especially when it comes to an ultra-popular stadium tour like that which Bruce Springsteen is scheduled to bring to North America and Europe next year.
To be sure, Ticketmaster has communicated on its website: “A recent major arena tour allocated 12% of tickets to Platinum, resulting in a 90% lift over face value and an incremental $7.1M+ to their total tour revenue. Similarly, a stadium tour allocated more than 5,000 tickets per show to Platinum, which led to [a] 105% lift and $17M+ in incremental grosses.”
Ticketmaster also attempted to get out in front of the outcry with a rare public comment, indicating that 88 percent of the concert series’ tickets had sold at pre-fee fixed prices ranging from $59.50 to $399. Additionally, the Live Nation subsidiary tried to justify its business practices by claiming that tickets had at that point sold for an average of $262 apiece, with 56 percent having featured a face value of less than $200.
And as mentioned at the outset, Bruce Springsteen’s manager, Jon Landau, has now defended the ticket costs.
Addressing the matter when speaking with The New York Times, Landau stated: “In pricing tickets for this tour, we looked carefully at what our peers have been doing. We chose prices that are lower than some and on par with others.
“Regardless of the commentary about a modest number of tickets costing $1,000 or more, our true average ticket price has been in the mid-$200 range,” he proceeded. “I believe that in today’s environment, that is a fair price to see someone universally regarded as among the very greatest artists of his generation.”
Predictably, the remarks appear to be doing little to assuage the frustration of fans, who are continuing to vent about the astronomical costs – especially in light of Springsteen’s reportedly $500 million catalog sale last year – on social media.
“Ticketmaster is selling ‘Platinum Tickets’ to Bruce Springsteen shows for over $1000,” one irked individual penned this afternoon. “I thought these must have been VIP tickets, with goodies, meet & greet, etc. No… these are ‘dynamically priced’ tickets that are just ‘great seats’……”
“I haven’t found any ticket less than $900 (farthest nosebleed) in any of the 3 venues in my state, and those tickets went on sale a week ago,” weighed in another would-be attendee.
“What a disappointing experience trying to buy @springsteen tickets on @Ticketmaster for Detroit. Incredibly high prices $600+ for many seats and then every time you click on a seat under $200 it says someone beat you to it. Then they are all gone. The ticket industry is broken,” tweeted a third observer.