Bruce Springsteen ticket prices seem to be cooling down a bit – although that’s relative. On Wednesday, the day its first handful of shows for 2023 went on sale, Ticketmaster was selling its platinum tickets for face value amounts of up to $5,000, before hundreds of additional fees were added. On Friday, however, with more tour stops going on sale, the highest face value any of the tickets seemed to go for, late in the day, was just $2,695.
Controversy over, then, right?
Not exactly. Substantial pockets of Springsteen’s fan base are still experiencing confusion, at best, and rage, at worst, over the unexpected skyrocketing cost of some of his tickets for this tour. Some is the key word, as there are different types of ducats for the artist’s trek in 2023, and many seem to be set at fixed values ranging from $60 to $400 if you manage to enter the door online at the same time where it opens in the morning. But what remains soon after these are gone are persistent “platinum notes”, with dynamic prices that can and have increased 10x from the initial value almost instantly. Those inflated prices are what most fans see when they finally jump the queue…and, as this week has shown, what they take screenshots and post on social media, causing outrage.
While anger over ticket prices is nothing new, there has perhaps never been as much mass-directed anger over the price of a single tour as there has been this week. And it seems reasonable to assume that neither Springsteen nor Ticketmaster saw it coming, as variable pricing has already been a fixture of the industry for a few years. Sources say most of the tickets for the tour have been in a more reasonable price range, but since these are all bought up within minutes, what most audience members see are the tickets essentially self- scales that remain. Without transparency on what percentage of tickets are subject to fluctuating prices and which are not, it hasn’t looked good on a live industry that still wants to lure people away from home post-pandemic.
The Springsteen and/or Ticketmaster camps were said to be drafting a statement that would reflect their views on the situation, but as of Friday night none were released. It left irritated fans thinking less about “The Rising” and more about the laughable.
Still, there was less demand for platinum tickets on Friday than on Wednesday, though it’s unclear whether this was due to a price cap or just the algorithm that supposedly adjusts spreads in response to a lower number of requests. . Variety looked at seating plans and ticket prices in several of the cities that went on sale Friday, and what was available mid-afternoon varied widely by market.
In Greensboro, North Carolina, one of the tour stops that went on sale on Friday, a mid-afternoon request for a pair of seats from Ticketmaster saw 62 offers appear as first sales on the site. (Resale tickets, which Ticketmaster also offers, were not considered.) The average price of a Ticketmaster ticket in Greensboro calculated by Variety of these Friday offers: $903.39, before additional fees.
Of these 62 platinum ticket offers for Greensboro, the highest was $2,695 and the lowest was $339. Those were the two outliers. Only seven of those 62 pairs were offered for less than $500, and only 10 cost more than $1,000, with most selling squarely in the hundreds.
But you could see different extremes looking at two other cities that just went on sale earlier today, Albany, NY and Denver, Colorado. In Albany late afternoon, you could call 109 pairs of tickets platinum, and all but seven were under $1,000 a ticket. But in Denver, as of the same time, there were only six pairs of tickets available directly through Ticketmaster, and five of the six cost more than $1,000. (Interestingly, in addition to having few platinum tickets to buy, Denver also posted a minimal number of resale tickets on its seating chart, compared to other cities. Is Colorado a true bastion of real fans?)
In Mohegan, Ct., you can call 41 pairs of tickets platinum at the end of the day, none of which are a bargain. Only two of the 41 pairs cost less than $1,000 a ticket; six were going for over $2,000, leaving the majority of the remaining available unsold tickets in the $1,000-2,000 range.
These prices will still strike many fans as irrelevant, but it’s an improvement on what was reported on Wednesday, when floor seats were offered by Ticketmaster for over $4,000 and even “turntables.” nosebleeds were offered for $700 or more.
Music fans who would like to see the end of variable prices as a result of this anger will probably not be very happy in this regard. While most may not have been very aware of it until now, the system has been controversial since at least as far back as Taylor Swift’s 2018 ‘Reputation’ tour, when the Swifties seated side by side began to realize that the prices they had paid for their seats varied by several hundred dollars at a time, depending on when they purchased. Proponents of the system might point out that it can also work in favor of fans, dramatically reducing tickets in the home stretch if demand has been met.
It’s also worth pointing out that there’s no evidence that anyone purchased a ticket to Springsteen through Ticketmaster for $5,000 or even $4,000 – just that the algorithm threw them in at that price and saw if anyone was biting.
But dynamic pricing represents a still fairly new wrinkle in the live industry, where a sale can be seen as a bad thing, not something to brag about. In this way of thinking, it means that you have fixed the price of your tickets too reasonably and left a lot of money on the table which was recovered by StubHub.
“What did Bruce know and when did he know it?” seems to be a question that lingers in the minds of fans, even as they pester Stevie Van Zant and other band members on Twitter for answers that don’t come from the camp. The most reasonable guess would be that the entertainer is well aware of dynamic pricing – and he wasn’t afraid to charge high prices for his one-man Broadway show – but he probably hadn’t considered seeing demand. of 5 thousand dollars for standard arena tickets. become a top meme.
Artists box cancel the variable pricing strategy, or cap it, it seems, although few have done so publicly. One of them was the group Crowded House. In 2020, the band released a statement saying, “While this may be common practice on other tours, we at Crowded House do not agree to the sale of premium tickets, as described by Live Nation. , “at market-determined prices where the price is adjusted according to supply and demand. The band had no prior knowledge of these “In Demand” tickets and did not endorse this program. Our Live Nation promoters have agreed, at our request, that any ticket holder who has paid more than face value under the “On Demand” program will be refunded the additional charge at the point of purchase. (Live Nation replied, “It is always up to the artist to determine the price and sale of their tickets, especially with In Demand tickets, as these are designed to ensure that all value goes to the artist. instead of lining the pockets of scalpers.”)
The artists’ house that joined Neil Finn and his company in deliberately refusing this extra money? Not so crowded.