This month, Robert Smith learned first hand about the complexities of the ticketing industry when The Cure announced a North American tour. Even after the band opted out of Ticketmaster’s “dynamic” pricing structure, many fans were unable to secure tickets, while others were subjected to exorbitant service fees.
In a new post on his website, Neil Young weighed in on The Cure’s tour drama. “It’s over. The old days are gone,” Young wrote, reposting an article about Smith’s battle for fair prices. “I get letters blaming me for $3,000.00 tickets for a benefit I am doing. That money does not go to me or the benefit. Artists have to worry about ripped off fans blaming them for Ticketmaster add-ons and scalpers.”
Young continued, “CONCERT TOURS are no longer fun. CONCERT TOURS not what they were.” See his full post here.
The Cure made a concerted effort to make their upcoming “Songs of a Lost World” tour accessible to real fans in a landscape dominated by scalpers and exclusive prices. Only those registered for the “Verified Fan” sale could purchase the non-transferrable tickets, and seats went for as low as $20. Still, Ticketmaster skirted these affordability rules by tacking on service fees, facility charges, and processing fees, nearly doubling some fans’ initially projected totals. After protests, Smith convinced the company to refund fans between $5 and $10 on every order.
Smith’s and Young’s comments are the latest in a decades-long belief among musicians and fans that Ticketmaster prevents real fans from witnessing live music. The company has faced heightened scorn and even anti-trust investigation in recent years, especially as it fails to meet demand for the industry’s biggest artists. Just before Smith implored the company to do better, Ticketmaster announced that it would be more transparent about what, exactly, all those service fees mean.
Young just began performing live again after taking a long precautionary break due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In April, he’ll perform at the “Light Up the Blues” autism fundraiser in Los Angeles. Just before then, he’ll release All Roads Lead Home, an album comprised of solo songs by each member of Crazy Horse.