Suit is seeking damages for ticket buyers
A Canadian law firm has filed a class-action lawsuit against Ticketmaster over pricing for Drake’s upcoming It’s All A Blur Tour. The Toronto Star reports that LPC Avocat Inc. has filed the suit after a Montreal man purchased two “Official Platinum” seats for the rapper’s July 14th stop at the Bell Centre in Montreal for $789.54 each. The next day, Drake added a second show for July 15th which had the same seats available for more than $350 less, the suit claims.
“Ticketmaster unilaterally decides which tickets it advertises and sells as ‘Official Platinum’ based on a given event,” reads the application for the class action provided to the Star. “The result is that most, if not all, of the tickets advertised and sold as ‘Official Platinum’ are neither ‘premium tickets’ nor ‘some of the best seats in the house’ and are, in fact, just regular tickets sold by Ticketmaster at an artificially inflated premium in bad faith.”
The suit further alleges that the Live Nation-owned company knew Drake had two concerts scheduled in Montreal, but “concealed this information” to “squeeze out” as much money as possible. The pricing for “Official Platinum” tickets are dynamic and fluctuate based on supply and demand.
Ticketmaster describes “Official Platinum Seats” as “premium tickets to concerts and other events made available by artists and Event Organizers through Ticketmaster. They give fans fair and safe access to some of the best seats in the house.”
The class-action suit is seeking “compensatory damages in the aggregate amount of the difference between the prices charged for ‘Official Platinum’ tickets and what their regular price ought to have been” for fans who bought Official Platinum seats. It also seeks $300 per customer in punitive damages. The suit must be approved by the Quebec Superior Court before moving forward.
Drake’s It’s All A Blur Tour will see the rapper return to the road after five years with 21 Savage this summer. A few days after the tour announcement, 14 additional dates were added with second shows for Montreal, Houston, Dallas, Miami, Detroit, Washington, DC, Seattle, Vancouver, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Las Vegas and third shows in Brooklyn, New York, and Inglewood, bringing the tour to a massive 42 shows across North America this summer.
The suit is the latest in a series of public legal scrutiny Ticketmaster has faced in recent months for its practices. Last week, The Cure frontman Robert Smith was successfully able to negotiate a partial refund of fees for fans after speaking publicly against the company.
“We didn’t agree to the ‘dynamic pricing’/’price surging’/’platinum ticket’ thing… because it is itself a bit of a scam?” he infers on Twitter, adding, “A separate conversation!”
Last year, Taylor Swift lashed out at the company after many fans were left empty handed following a Verified Fan presale for her The Eras Tour in November. The company apologized to the pop star after Ticketmaster’s system crashed. Fans are suing the company for the issue while the Senate Judiciary Committee calls Ticketmaster and its parent company, Live Nation, a monolith in live entertainment that needs to be restructured.
Bruce Springsteen fans were also vocal about The Boss’ use of Ticketmaster’s dynamic pricing for his 2023 tour dates when prices surged $4,000-5,000 during on sales for the shows in North America. This tour is the first time Springsteen opted to use Ticketmaster’s dynamic pricing system. Springsteen manager Jon Landau 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.”
Late last year, Springsteen addressed the 2023 ticket prices, admitting the idea to use dynamic pricing was his.
“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.
Also, President Biden is working on eliminating these fees, called “junk fees” or “convenience fees,” on a federal level which will end these hidden charges when buying tickets.