Bruce Springsteen Tickets Prices Fall a Little. But Furor Still Rises

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Bruce Springsteen ticket prices seem to be cooling off a bit — although that’s relative. On Wednesday, his first show for 2023 was on sale. Ticketmaster was selling platinum tickets at face-values up to $5,000. Then, hundreds of additional fees were added. On Friday, however with more tour stops being sold, the lowest face value of any tickets was only $2,695.

Controversy, then, is right?

It’s not. Some Springsteen fans are still confused and angry about the sudden skyrocketing cost of tickets for this tour. Some is the operative word, because there are different kinds of ducats for the artist’s 2023 trek, and many appear to be set at fixed values that go for $60-400 if you manage to get in the online door the very moment it opens in the morning. But what’s quickly left after those are gone are lingering “platinum tickets,”With dynamic pricing, the price can almost instantly rise 10 times over its initial value. Those inflated prices are what most fans see when they finally break through the queue… and, as this week has shown, what they take screenshots of and post to social media, inflaming outrage.

While anger over ticket prices is nothing new, there may never have been as much ire directed by the masses at a single tour’s pricing as there has been this week. Given that variable pricing was a common feature of the industry for a number years, it is reasonable to believe Springsteen or Ticketmaster did not see it coming. According to sources, most tickets on the tour were priced in a lower price range. However, most people are only seeing the remaining, essentially self-scalped, tickets. Without transparency about what percentage of tickets are subject to fluctuating pricing and which aren’t, it hasn’t added up to a great look for a live industry that is still wanting to draw people back out of their homes after the pandemic.

Springsteen and/or the Ticketmaster camps are said to be working on a statement that would reflect how they see it, but none have been forthcoming as of Friday evening. That’s left irked fans thinking less about “The Rising”The absurd is better.

Still, less was being asked for the platinum tickets on Friday than on Wednesday, although it wasn’t clear whether this was due to a cap being set on prices or just the algorithm that supposedly adjusts the variances responding to a less heated number of inquiries. VarietyWe looked at ticket prices and seating charts for several cities that went on sale Friday. What was available at mid-afternoon varied dramatically from market to market.

Greensboro, NC was one of the tour stops that went to sale Friday. A request from Ticketmaster for a pair were made at mid-afternoon and 62 offers came up as the first sales. (Resale tickets are also available at Ticketmaster, but they were not included in the average price. The average price of a Ticketmaster Greensboro ticket was calculated by VarietyThese Friday deals: $903.39 before any additional fees

There were 62 Greensboro Platinum ticket offers. The highest was $2695, and the lowest was 339. These were both extreme examples. Seventeen of the 62 pairs were offered at less than $500. Ten were selling for over $1,000. The rest were priced in the high hundreds.

You could also see extremes if you looked at the tickets that were on sale in two other cities, Albany, NY, and Denver, Colorado. You could get 109 platinum tickets in Albany by late afternoon. Seven of them were below $1,000 per ticket. Denver had six pairs of platinum tickets remaining at the time, with five of them for more than $1,000. (By contrast to other cities, Denver had very few platinum tickets remaining to buy. Also, Denver had a much smaller number of resale tickets. Is Colorado a true bastion for true fans?

In Mohegan, Ct., you could call up 41 pairs of platinum tickets at day’s end, none a bargain. Two of the 41 tickets were priced below $1,000 per ticket, while six went for more than $2,000 making the remaining non-resale tickets available in the $1,000-2,000 price range.

These prices will still strike many fans as beyond the pale, but it’s an improvement over what was being reported Wednesday, when floor seats were being offered by Ticketmaster for upwards of $4,000 and even nosebleed “platinums”They were available for as low as $700

Music fans who would like to see an end to variable pricing as a result of this anger aren’t likely to see much satisfaction in that regard. Even if most may not have been very aware of it till now, the system has been controversial going back at least as far as Taylor Swift’s “Reputation” tour in 2018, when Swifties sitting side by side began to realize that the prices they’d paid for their seats varied by hundreds of dollars at time, depending on when they bought in. Proponents of the system might point out that it can work in fans’ favor, too, dropping tickets drastically in the final stretch if demand has been sated.

It’s also worth pointing out that there hasn’t been any evidence that anybody bought a ticket for Springsteen through Ticketmaster for $5,000 or even $4,000 — just that the algorithm was throwing them up at that price point and seeing if anyone bit.

However, dynamic pricing is still a new concept in live music. It allows for a sellout to be seen as something bad and not something to brag about. It means that your tickets were priced correctly. TooStubHub was able to pick up the tab.

“What did Bruce know and when did he know it?” seems to be a question lingering in fans’ minds, even as they harass Stevie Van Zant and other band members on Twitter for the answers that aren’t coming from the camp. The most reasonable assumption would be that the artist is well aware of dynamic pricing — and he was not afraid of asking premium prices for his one-man Broadway show — but he probably hadn’t considered seeing a 5-grand ask for standard arena tickets becoming a leading meme.

Artists canVariable pricing strategies could be scrapped or capped, although few people have done this publicly. Crowded House was one of the first to do so. The group released a statement in 2020 saying: “Though it may be common practice on other tours, we in Crowded House do not agree with any premium tickets being sold, as Live Nation describe it, ‘at market driven prices where the price is adjusted according to supply and demand.’ The band had no prior knowledge of these ‘In Demand’ tickets and did not approve this program. Our promoters Live Nation have agreed at our request that any ticket holders who paid more than face value under the ‘In Demand’ program will be reimbursed for additional charges at the point of purchase.”(Live Nation) “It is always up to the artist as to how their tickets are priced and sold, especially with In Demand tickets as those are designed to ensure all value is coming back to the artist instead of lining the pockets of scalpers.”)

Is this the house of artists who are willing to turn down extra money in order to join Neil Finn and his company? It’s not so crowded.

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