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:
- The act, not Ticketmaster, sets the face value of the concert ticket.
- Acts take a 90%-ish share of ticket sales. The remaining 10% goes to the promoter that sets up the gig(s).
- Ticketmaster nor the venue get any slice of the face value price.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.