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.