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The latest concert ticket controversy involves The Cure’s upcoming tour. [UPDATE: There’s a happy ending! Tickets will now cost LESS!]

[Scroll down for the update]

Earlier this week, we heard about the Foo Fighters’ attempt to control scalping for at least one show on their upcoming round of music festivals. They made it clear that any tickets bought from anyone but the primary seller would have those tickets invalidated. If, for example, leapt at an opportunity to buy tickets from StubHub at price above the face value, you’re out of luck–or at least out of pocket. Fans who bought tickets from a secondary seller have the chance to exchange those tickets for those sold by the primary seller but would only get the face value.

Robert Smith and The Cure have the same idea for their upcoming North American tour. Like Pearl Jam back in 1994, the band wanted to keep tickets as low as $20. Like the Foos, they wanted non-transferrable electronic tickets to keep the scalpers and secondary market away. The Cure also refused to participate in any dynamic pricing scheme. They worked with Ticketmaster to make that happen.

However, things seem to have gone badly.

First, fans are reporting problems with checkout on Ticketmaster’s site.

And for some baffling reason, service charges cost more than the actual ticket. See?

Smith had this to say (and by the way, he always types on BLOCK LETTERS, no matter what the occasion):

I completely understand why we have service fees and facility charges. This is how Ticketmaster and venues make their money from the sale of concert tickets. They are certainly entitled to cover their costs and turn a profit. But when the service fees add up to more than the cost of the ticket, this is not a good look for Ticketmaster.

Didn’t they promise to be more transparent about things?

UPDATE: Robert Smith convinced Ticketmaster that the fees being charged were “unduly high.” TM will refund $10 to fans who bought the cheapest tickets and $5 to everyone else. Ticketmaster is calling this a “gesture of goodwill.” Cure fans are calling Robert a legend.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38410 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

2 thoughts on “The latest concert ticket controversy involves The Cure’s upcoming tour. [UPDATE: There’s a happy ending! Tickets will now cost LESS!]

  • Wow. In that example, all those service charges. And you just know that TM takes a cut of the band’s $20 ticket cost. It’s no wonder artists and fans get upset.

    On the other side, I’ve recently snagged tickets for Metallica, Depeche Mode, and Megadeth. All through TM. And the ticket costs were reasonable, with no ridiculously high fees.

    The Blink 182 tix I passed on because they were insanely high.

  • At least The Cure is trying to keep the face value of the tickets low. I got tickets yesterday to the upcoming Cure show in Atlanta . And while I was very annoyed that I got my verified fan code 40 minutes after the tickets went on sale I did still manage to get 2 tickets in the upper deck for $60 (US) each – total cost was around $156 so that was around $18 in fees for each ticket. While I’m not pleased that the fees were equal to about 1/3 of the ticket price I am somewhat pleased in the face value cost of the ticket. I had similar seats in the same venue for Tool just before the pandemic and the tickets were about double this cost.


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