Ticketmaster appears to have landed on a new approach to address 2022’s tumultuous streak of ticketing controversies, which culminated in a public hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee to answer for Taylor Swift’s “Eras Tour” pre-sale.
According to Billboard, the live entertainment giant’s plan “starts with the fees,” but also includes an intensified crackdown on ticket scalping as well as outreach and education about the source of their additional charges.
“We all want to know what is the true cost to see the show when we start shopping,” Live Nation President and CEO Michael Rapino shared on a recent investor call. He also said he wished that transparent ticket pricing was “mandated tomorrow across the board” in order to “relieve a lot of the stress [and] the consumer’s perception that there’s this magical extra fee added on.”
“We’ve got to now go out and do a much better job so policymakers and consumers understand how the business operates,” Rapid stated. “We’ve historically not had a big incentive to shout out loud that venues are charging high service fees or artist costs are expensive. But I think now [that] education is paramount.”
As Billboard notes, Ticketmaster’s main source of revenue comes from fees, as the company typically keeps between $2 to $5 per ticket. “The artist takes most of that ticket fee base. So the way that the venue, the promoter or the ticketing company [earns its] revenue fees is through that extra fee,” Rapino explained.
Ticketmaster hopes to gain some goodwill by pivoting away from the “drip pricing” model, which gradually introduces additional service charges at checkout in the likelihood that fans will continue with their purchase regardless. Instead, the total cost of the ticket — including fees — will be seen upfront.
The company took a direct stance against the “drip pricing” practice in February by voicing support for the FAIR Ticketing Act, which would outlaw drip pricing and also empower artists against scalping websites. Notably, the company has been fined internationally for utilizing the drip pricing method before, and they’ve been able to settle other past legal disputes elsewhere. Yet still, an anonymous Live Nation executive in the report lamented, “Why the fuck do people hate us so much?”
Ticketmaster most recently argued successfully for an antitrust lawsuit to be thrown out, but they may have to face some stiff competition from A-Rod’s ticketing startup, Jump, which just raised $20 million.