Ticketmaster’s “dynamic pricing” at work again for Depeche Mode’s upcoming tour

When the Live Nation press release for Depeche Mode’s upcoming Memento Mori world tour popped onto my screen, the first thing I thought was “Wow! That’s a very reasonable ticket price.” I mean, $49.50 for a band the stature of Depeche Mode? Surely they were underpricing themselves.

Turns out they were. Ticketmaster’s “dynamic pricing” soon took over. This is where the site assesses demand and adjusts ticket prices to match, similar to what we see with airline tickets. I completely understand what’s going on here and I’ve even defended this new practice. But fans are having a hard time with the concept.

This email arrived from Tino:

“Demand pricing was in full effect for these shows. $49.50 tickets turned into $129.50 and floor seats were going for $750 dollars. I’ve relegated myself to coming to terms that I will never again go to a concert.”

Completely understandable. By advertising such a low initial price does feel like a bait-and-switch. (Yet another similarity to airline tickets!)

But we’ll see how this pans out. In dynamic pricing, the price of a ticket can go down as well as up. That initial spike was due to fierce and sudden demand as fans clamored to see the first DM tour in five years (and the first without the late Andy Fletcher). If people balk at paying, then the price will decrease and then fluctuate until we arrive at the true market price–i.e. what fans are willing to pay–for a ticket.

I still think that dynamic pricing is a good thing (again, read this). It’s just that fans are going to have to get used to some new realities.

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.

4 thoughts on “Ticketmaster’s “dynamic pricing” at work again for Depeche Mode’s upcoming tour

  • October 6, 2022 at 11:48 am
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    I promise that no concert is worth $750 per ticket. Dynamic pricing is not good. Arctic Monkeys this morning…$350 for GA. Chili Peppers… $450 for GA at the Dome. Come on, 2 hours of entertainment is not worth that much. I know, I go to 30 or so shows a year for the past decade and have paid for them all.

    Reply
  • October 6, 2022 at 7:40 pm
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    As a lifelong fan of Depeche, I almost lost it when I saw the pricing increase. I wasn’t sure if it was re-sellers or the insanity of the dynamic pricing.

    I just hope that I can get tickets for my favourite band without getting raked over the coals.

    I do understand the concept of dynamic pricing, but are the bands making the money or is ticketmaster???

    Reply
  • October 13, 2022 at 6:11 pm
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    That’s a question that I have, and I’m not finding an answer for it.

    Reply
  • October 14, 2022 at 5:09 pm
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    As I sat in front of my laptop last week, I was reminded of Alan’s poll about how much we were willing to spend on concert tickets to see our favorite bands.

    I was close to shelling out nearly 5k on a credit card (money I didn’t have – it would have been incurred debt) – I kid you not to see DM in another state because they aren’t coming to the Northwest and it’s somewhere I’ve seen them before and it’s my hometown so I would have had a small nostalgia kick thrown in despite not knowing anyone in the area any longer.

    That would have been two floor tickets (even though I would have had to sell the other ticket) because of TMs policy of not leaving one stranded seat because F-M for being single and wanting one bloody ticket. It woud have been an aisle seat so I could have seen the stage if people started standing (I can’t stand for shows any longer.). And that’s another F-M because the limited mobility seats are all in the stratosphere seats and who the hell wants nosebleed seats?

    Luckily, between TM and PP and my CC, the fraud alerts (eventually something hit my credit card but it took 1 1/2 hours to do so – seriously, I spent that long trying to buy these two tickets and calling my CC sompany and TM’s fraud division based on a Reddit thread)….I realized (1) this was a show in California and I’ve sworn off California and (2) WTF, I’m not the kind of person that spends that much money to see a band I’ve seen at least six times before – despite how good those two hours+ will feel because that high doesn’t last for long afterwards – not to mention the plane ride, hotel, car rental, parking, merch, etc etc.

    The moment of insanity passed. I still feel I’m missing a crucial moment in time. I’m desperately sad at this but I won’t do nosebleed and I won’t spend 3k on one ticket. And DM has too much $$ to do this and TM has too much $$ to do this. It’s highway robbery.

    There are class actions pending in the States right now against TM/LN for this VERY THING. They are trying to get the suit thrown out citing that prior suits have been thrown out and that this should be thrown out because prior suits have been thrown out. They just think they are above the law. It’s not impossible to boycott TM/LN unless all you like are arena shows. I might have two TM/LN shows a year. Just enough to be part of class action suits or get notifications for such in Canada and the United States. We should all put our money where our mouths are and boycott TM/LN and let them know and let your government representatives know that the monopoly that TM/LN has over your Country is not okay with you. It’s the only way that things will change. They’ve held their ticketing monopoly over our heads for decades – and now they own VENUES, MERCH AND FOOD. ALL of the money you spend at a concert is going to TM/LN besides what goes to the artists and the staff and we all know how little the staff gets paid. The artists can fight their own battles.

    Be informed – wiki the venue next time you go to see that show and see who owns it – you might be surprise that your little hometown venue is owned by TM.
    (I found out that TM owned venues by doing this for a venue I was going to in BC in 2015. It’s not a large one – but I wanted to get more info before I went to the show. Learning it was owned by TM was a shocker. The merch and food stuff I’ve found out at show since the ‘before times’.)

    I’m heading up to BC tomorrow for a PBS/NO show where I can’t be part of a TM class action because I don’t reside in Canada. I can’t say it’ll be my last TM/LN show because for me, there will always be DM shows. I might miss this one but if they tour again in the NW and prices are back to normal, I’ll be at that one. I paid 99.50 for my last DM show in 2017 at Moda Center and had a perfectly good seat in a accessible seating area on the second tier at the back of the floor. Not as close as I’d have liked but it was good enough and my view was not obstructed. In 2009, I saw them at Key Arena and had 6th row floor seats for 77.50.

    This is already a TLDR so I won’t go back any further with my other shows but this 3k, 5k, 1k is stupid and we all know TM is only getting away with it because they are the only game in town and their platinium express BS is just that. More $$ in their pockets and more money (and you know this is right – as much as I hate to say it) in the artist’s pockets. (and this isn’t about inflation)

    Reply

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