Ticketmaster Concert Prices: We Love to Hate Them

Taylor Swift concert prices soared the day they went on sale and we love to hate Ticketmaster for this. Lots of fans lost the opportunity to buy reasonably priced tickets. According to Ticketmaster, bots flooded their site and locked out fans from buying tickets. Most people blame Ticketmaster for this disaster. It’s a national past time to bust on Ticketmaster for high fees and creating high ticket prices. However, in a January Congressional hearing, the head of Live Nation (who owns Ticketmaster) proposed some ways to prevent this from happening again (Click this link to see their ideas). And while everybody loves to hate Ticketmaster, their ideas are actually pretty good. We’ll sum up what they are and ways we think they can be improved:

Increase Enforcement Against Ticket Buying Bots

Congress passed the Better Online Tickets Sales (BOTS) Act in 2016 making it illegal to buy tickets using bots. In theory, this solved som issues with Ticketmaster concert prices. However, enforcement has been slow (the US government brought its first action against ticket resellers in 2021, 5 years after the law passed!). As a result, Live Nation thinks private parties, like Ticketmaster, should be able to sue ticket resellers instead of waiting for the government to act. We agree expanding this is a good idea.

Our Improvement: Resellers Required to Verify Ticket Holders are People

Requiring ticket resellers to verify they are buying tickets from a person and not a ticket broker company would go a long way to reducing the bot problem. More important, Ticketmaster has some built conflict of interest in suing bots. The same bots that buy tickets from Ticketmaster turn around and sell them on Ticketmaster’s resale site. Due this, we’re uncertain how much time would Ticketmaster finding and suing the bots that bring them tickets to sell on their resale site.

Taylor Swift concert prices skyrocketed the day of presale. Everyone loves to blame Ticketmaster but were they the sole problem?
(Photo by: Ronald S. Woan)

No Speculative Sales for Concert Tickets

Speculate ticket sales, offering tickets for sale you don’t own yet, is still legal. Live Nation says they should be illegal. Additionally, they also oppose the use of deceptive web links and sites that claim to have “official” tickets. We agree with this.

Our Improvement: Resellers Should Validate Sellers Have the Tickets

Resellers should not go live with ticket listings unless the seller has the ticket. Granted, most tickets are e-tickets, but there are ways to verify the seller has the ticket already. We’ve also seen some resellers offer tickets for sale to concert the day the show is announced; well before any tickets have gone on sale. This should be illegal as well.

All In Pricing

Ticket resellers vary widely on whether they provide upfront all in prices on tickets. (See our blog post : How to See the All In Price for Concert Tickets for more info on how to see and set the all in price for major ticket resellers) For example, TickPick is the only major reseller that tells you upfront what the ticket costs. We give them kudos for this. Live Nation agrees that all in prices are good for customers. They say there should be a federal law requiring all in prices. We agree.

Our Improvement: Ban Processing, Email and Other Fees

The only thing that matters is your bottom line price. Make it a federal law that consumers see just one price without fees. It makes it a level playing field for everybody. All these extra fees are difficult to explain or simply silly. For example, one reseller charges an “email delivery” fee, when we know that the cost of an email is zero. Consumers never benefit from the fees and there’s no reason that every ticket sellers can’t just bake the fees into the cost of the ticket.