ConcertsMusic Industry

Ticketmaster is moving to all-in pricing. This will change concert tickets.

You may have heard Joe Biden and others in the US Government wail about “junk fees” or “hidden fees” when it comes to concert tickets. These are the service fees tacked on to the face value. They piss people off.

Well, they shouldn’t. Here are some truths:

  1. The act, not Ticketmaster, sets the face value of the concert ticket.
  2. Acts take a 90%-ish share of ticket sales. The remaining 10% goes to the promoter that sets up the gig(s).
  3. Ticketmaster nor the venue get any slice of the face value price.
  4. Ticketmaster’s (or any other ticket seller’s) service fee is how the company makes its money. As the ticket seller, it deserves to make money for what they do. That includes all the servers, software, apps that they’ve developed or licensed and the cost of keeping everything online every day.
  5. Venue/facility fees are how the venue makes its money. Neither the promoter nor the act pays rent for the facility. Instead, the venue adds a little taste to the ticket price. The venue also makes money from concessions, alcohol sales, and, parking. The venue will also take a percentage of the act’s merch sales. This is, in effect, charging rent to the act’s merch booths.
  6. Sales tax: You know how that works.

Therefore, these fees are not “junk.” They’re necessary parts of the live music ecosystem. However, it is very annoying when we only see these charges pop up at checkout. Surprise! That’s never fun.

After dealing with blowback from all angles for years (which, by the way, is Ticketmaster’s job), Ticketmaster says it is moving into “all-in pricing,” just like the airline industry was forced to a while back. Remember those $99 fares to Vancouver that turned out to be $300 when all was said and done. I’m hoping (but not assuming) that the price we see when we first log on will break everything down into the component charges). Keep it transparent on all levels, you know?

From what I’ve been reading, acts are gonna really, really hate this. This means they’ll no longer be able to point to Ticketmaster and while saying “I didn’t do it.” Meanwhile, fans are going to have a period of transition. We’ll all have to get used to seeing those higher prices right from the get-go.

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 38296 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

6 thoughts on “Ticketmaster is moving to all-in pricing. This will change concert tickets.

  • Hard disagree with you on this one. While Ticketmaster deservers to make SOMETHING, there’s no excuse for the amount of the fees compared to the service they provide to me as a ticket buyer. There are still non-Live Nation venues out there, and the experience of buying tickets from them is just as good, if not better, and for much more realistic fees.

  • Ok, but venues take a share of merch sales and they make a s*ht load of money on alcohol sales, so I don’t think it is correct to say they are making no money

  • Oh see, I already solved this issue for myself. I don’t give Ticketmaster anything because I don’t go to shows anymore. I understand the struggles of bands and all of that, but seeing the prices of tickets what for amounts to a couple hours of entertainment is ridiculous. I was recently looking at tickets for Depeche Mode and they are a band I already saw. So there is no point for me to go see them and sit far away. A band I’ve never seen I don’t care where I sit, but multiple shows need to serve a point and that point is usually a better or similar to that better view. I looked for seats closer to the stage and they ranged from $500 – 800. x2 we are looking over $1k. Now, of course it would be a good show, but I’m not shelling that out. I would much rather just watch whatever YouTube videos are posted after the show and if I really like the band I will stick to buying their physical media in the form of vinyl, cd, shirt, or whatever. Basically, I am fine supporting bands I like in some way, especially smaller bands, but not to the extent of show prices nowadays

  • All of this is completely true, and they are a business and not only deserve to make a living off of what they do, but that they have a responsibility in fact to return a profit to their shareholders and employees to continue the business…

    But no one really gives a S**t…

    …they are the face of corporate evil in the concert world, deserved or otherwise, their “junk fees” and bot’ buying issues and even their name alone makes them the problem, regardless of if they deserve it. My very few interactions with them have been what they had to be, they have access to something and and if i f wanted that access, I held my nose and clicked BUY.

    As for the bands hating it, it might be fun to see Bono et al defend $350.00 for s****y nosebleeds…

  • Here is my comment about this…

    If the artist needs $50, the venue needs $50, and Ticketmaster needs $50, then charge $150 plus taxes. (or whatever the number needs to be)

    WHY are people allowed to buy THOUSANDS of tickets and resell them?
    I am sure Ticketmaster – and their subsidiaries LOVE to sell the tickets multiple times for extra fees.
    This is the part of the whole process that should be fixed.

    Have a concert and let the fans go for the original ticket prices.

  • This information is absolutely incorrect: Venue/facility fees are how the venue makes its money. Neither the promoter nor the act pays rent for the facility.”

    As a long term concert promoter in Toronto, I need correct you. Every venue I deal with from Hard Luck to Meridian Hall and for every venue in between, there is a rental fee in place. (as well as facility fees)


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