Springsteen owns up to high prices
Bruce Springsteen has addressed why some tickets to his forthcoming 2023 North American tour were priced upwards of $5,000. In an interview with Rolling Stone, The Boss says it was his decision to offer dynamic pricing like his peers.
“What I do is a very simple thing. I tell my guys, ‘Go out and see what everybody else is doing. Let’s charge a little less.’ That’s generally the directions. They go out and set it up. For the past 49 years or however long we’ve been playing, we’ve pretty much been out there under market value. I’ve enjoyed that. It’s been great for the fans. This time I told them, ‘Hey, we’re 73 years old. The guys are there. I want to do what everybody else is doing, my peers.’ So that’s what happened. That’s what they did,” he says.
“But ticket buying has gotten very confusing, not just for the fans, but for the artists also. And the bottom line is that most of our tickets are totally affordable. They’re in that affordable range. We have those tickets that are going to go for that [higher] price somewhere anyway. The ticket broker or someone is going to be taking that money. I’m going, ‘Hey, why shouldn’t that money go to the guys that are going to be up there sweating three hours a night for it?’ It created an opportunity for that to occur. And so at that point, we went for it. I know it was unpopular with some fans. But if there’s any complaints on the way out, you can have your money back.”
Springsteen says he owns up to that decision.
“Well, I’m old. I take a lot of things in stride. You don’t like to be criticized. You certainly don’t like to be the poster boy for high ticket prices. It’s the last thing you prefer to be. But that’s how it went,” he adds. “You have to own the decisions you have made and go out and just continue to do your best. And that was my take on it. I think if folks come to the show, they’re going to have a good time.”
Springsteen says he’s unsure if he’ll use the dynamic pricing structure again.
“I don’t know,” he states. “I think in the future, we’ll be talking about it, of course. It changes from tour to tour. We will be coming back. I’m sure we’ll be playing outside somewhat. That’ll be a whole other discussion when that comes around. I don’t want to say anything now, but we’ll see what happens.”
Fans shared their frustration with the dynamic pricing system on social media when many first-sold tickets — which initially ranged from $60-$399 each — were fetching $4,000-5,000 each during the on sale in July. Springsteen manager Jon Landau also defended the practice, stating “Regardless of the commentary about a modest number of tickets costing $1,000 or more, our true average ticket price has been in the mid-$200 range.”
In July, US Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. of New Jersey launched an investigation for its dynamic “supply and demand” pricing strategy and junk fees. In September, Pascrell sent a letter to Live Nation President and CEO Michael Rapino demanding the company be “more transparent and fair with its pricing strategies after Ticketmaster confirmed their dynamic pricing is based on supply and demand.”
Ticketmaster’s practices have been under fire in the past resulting in class action suits over scalping and refunds of postponed shows, among others. In November 2021, Harry Styles fans lashed out at Ticketmaster over high ticket prices, long queue times, and constant system errors for his 2022 tour.
Taylor Swift fans crashed the company’s servers this week as they flocked to the ticket outlet for a Verified Fan presale of her forthcoming The Eras Tour, leaving millions without tickets. The company canceled the general on sale and released a statement defending themselves but removed that statement from its website a day l ater.
Swift lashed out at the company, stating, “I’m not going going to make excuses for anyone because we asked them, multiple times, if they could handle this kind of demand and we were assured they could. It’s truly amazing that 2.4 million people got tickets, but it really pisses me off that a lot of them feel like they went through several bear attacks to get them.
The US Justice Department is said have opened an antitrust investigation into Live Nation over concerns the company has abused its power. The investigation will focus on whether Live Nation Entertainment maintains a monopoly over the multi-billion dollar industry.