Following The Cure’s showdown with Ticketmaster, Neil Young says the current concert touring model is broken.
“It’s over. The old days are gone,” Neil Young begins his complaint. He says he gets letters from fans who are angry at $3,000 tickets for a benefit concert. “That money does not go to me or the benefit. Artists have to worry about ripped off fans blaming them for Ticketmaster add-ons and scalpers,” he continues. “Concert tours are no longer fun.”
Neil Young then shares a bit of a news article about The Cure and Robert Smith’s attempts to keep ticket prices low for fans. They opted out of dynamic pricing, with each ticket costing $20. But after service fees and facility fees and order processing fees, the price paid by fans was double the face value of the ticket. What should have been $80 for four tickets eventually cost $172 at checkout.
“After further conversation, Ticketmaster have agreed with us that many of the fees being charged are unduly high,” Robert Smith told fans who bought those tickets. Ticketmaster offered fans a refund of just $10 for Verified Fan transactions.
Young also highlights just how long this has been a problem, as Pearl Jam notoriously took on Ticketmaster and its fees in 1994 by canceling its summer tour and suing for operating a monopoly. Fat little good that did though, as in 2010 Live Nation bought Ticketmaster and as of 2022 now holds 80% market share in primary ticketing in the United States.
Many Taylor Swift fans who were unable to secure tickets to her upcoming Eras tour sparked the debate in 2022. Following Verified Fans getting shafted on their wait for tickets, politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called for the breakup of Ticketmaster and Live Nation. Congress is even introducing a new unnecessary fee legislation that could hit directly at how Ticketmaster operates, forcing them to advertise the full cost of the ticket with no hidden fees.