Dynamic pricing is the scourge of real music fans

Dynamic pricing. Two words to have music fans screaming with frustration.

Monday, 25th July 2022, 12:31 pm
Bruce Springsteen's fans have been hit by dynamic pricing.
Bruce Springsteen's fans have been hit by dynamic pricing.

It's been used by much of the travel and hospitality sector for several years.

Now Ticketmaster has jumped on this most lucrative of bandwagons and milked fans of Bruce Springsteen for eye-watering sums.

His 2023 UK tour- his first for six years and possibly his last major hurrah with the E Street Band - was always going to spark huge demand.

And with tickets at over £100 per head it was never going to be cheap.

But, add in dynamic pricing and those prices went stratospheric.

In a nutshell, the greater the demand, the higher the price. Market forces at their most ruthless.

Someone will always pay regardless of the price, but it makes concert going elitist, and that's simply wrong.

And here's the thing.

Much of that immediate demand was manufactured thanks to FOMO - the fear of missing out - which engulfs folk as they try for tickets first via those infuriating pre-sales, but they only have a limited percentage of the total availability.

Each sale is then swamped, so dynamic pricing kicks in, and jacks the prices up.

A face value ticket multiplies three or four times within minutes - in America, three figures became four.

With social media platforms and Facebook pages awash with folk anguishing and howling over missing out on seeing a man they have followed, in many cases, for 50 years, FOMO was cynically and quite deliberately prompted by dynamic pricing.

If the online sites only offer you tickets at £375 and there are 8000 people also breathing down your beck to get it, the pressure to buy grows.

It's horrible and it's wholly exploitative.

So, who is to blame?

It's easy to berate Ticketmaster - in truth folk rage against the machine only when they can't get the tickets they want.

The buck stops with the man whose name is on the ticket, his management and tour promoter.

The stadiums they play are all tied to agencies such as Ticketmaster and Live Nation, but their hands are not fully tied.

When Crowded House discovered dynamic pricing was being applied to their tour dates, the band went public, said it had not agreed to it, and instructed the ticket agency to re-imburse any fan who paid more than face value. Direct, simple action.

Springsteen's voice carries significantly more weight.

He has to speak, and his management team take the same approach.

Simply selling every ticket at face value would still ensure his tour will be one of the highest grossing of 2023, so no-one is going to lose out. This is a cash cow that will roll across Europe, the USA and the UK.

And fans need to start pushing their politicians to speak up to effect change.

Doing nothing endorses a system that is simply legalised touting - it puts Ticketmaster and companies in the same category as those loathsome resale sites which know how to screw folk financially.

Thanks to my other half's dogged determination, we got the tickets we wanted at face value, but it was a jawdropping insight into a murky, greedy world.

When a ponytailed tout called Dave loitering at gates muttering 'tickets, anyone needing tickets?' Has more credibility than Ticketmaster, something gas gone very, very wrong.