Ticketmaster Agrees To Stop Linking To TicketsNow

When the recent Bruce Springsteen ticket sales event blew up in Ticketmaster’s stupid face, it brought down the wrath of New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram. Now Ticketmaster and New Jersey have reached a settlement that will change how the company conducts business across the U.S. Here’s what will change:

  • 1. No more linking to TicketsNow directly from a Ticketmaster transaction screen. This applies nationwide.
  • 2. Ticketmaster will pay New Jersey $350,000 to cover the cost of the investigation.
  • 3. Ticketmaster will stop an advertising agreement with Google which redirected Ticketmaster searches to the TicketsNow website.
  • 4. Ticketmaster will hold a lottery to sell 2,000 Springsteen tickets at face value to customers who complained about the botched sales. Another 1,000 customers who don’t win the lottery will be given $100 gift certificates and an opportunity to purchase tickets to an upcoming NJ Springsteen concert.

All in all, it’s a pretty good smackdown of Ticketmaster’s misleading and unfair business practices, although we suspect Ticketmaster caved so quickly partly to improve its reputation as the government begins to look at their upcoming merger with Live Nation.

“Ticketmaster will stop linking customers to subsidiary” [NJ.com] (Thanks to Doug!)

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“Congressman Wants Ticketmaster Investigated For ‘TicketsNow’ Website”
(Photo: alexik)

Comments

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  1. huadpe says:

    This will be overcome by interspersing ‘advertisement’ screens in between the ‘transaction’ screens to send people to the crappy ass reseller.

    And ticketmaster will just use internal redirects to create the same effect they had before with the google redirects.

    • Haltingpoint says:

      @huadpe: Good point on the redirects. This just means that tech-savvy vigilant customers will need to watch for that kind of crap and keep reporting it to the AG to show her that they are violating the spirit of the settlement.

      I’m sure she’d LOOOOOVE that.

  2. TrueBlue63 says:

    to improve its reputation as the government begins to look at their upcoming merger with Live Nation.

    So that buying tickets to concerts, etc. can become more like a proctologists exam.

  3. Pibbs says:

    Nothing has really changed according to this. Ticketmaster really did this just to save a bit of face.

    This won’t change my stance. Looked up tickets for Coldplay last week on Live Nation. Cheap seats were 80 bucks. I’m still not going to concerts.

    • cubsd says:

      @MrPibbistheGreatestSodaEver: You’re right, nothing has changed. If anything it became more difficult. Ticketmaster will continue to funnel tickets over to TicketsNow as soon as tickets go on sale, the only difference is you’ll have to go to their site yourself, no redirect.

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @MrPibbistheGreatestSodaEver: OK, fine. But for those of us that like music – especially live music – you’re quite hosed. “Simply” not going isn’t a viable solution.

      • Pibbs says:

        @Trai_Dep: Trust me, I love (or loved?) going to concerts. I just go less, and typically to more B-level shows than the A-list acts. I would love to go see Dave Matthews again, but it just won’t happen. Between demand from fans and scalpers causing ticket prices to skyrocket, it just doesn’t make sense for me to go.

        I’ve said this before, but the way that Nine Inch Nails does it works best. Hold aside a certain number of tickets to sell at a reasonable face value that are printed with the person’s name on the ticket and check ID at the door. No scalping allowed. If these bands care about their true fans getting a chance to see them, they’d all do something like this.

      • Raiders757 says:

        @Trai_Dep:

        Not going is a “viable option”. Your way of thinking, is what gives the industry the cause to keep the prices jacked up so high.

        I love live music, and have played the guitar since 1981. One thing a person like yourself needs to realize, that there’s lots of great live music being played every night in your own town. Great live music by bands just as good as those you pay high dollar to see. Being signed and backed by a major lable, in no way makes a band better. Trust me on that one.

        Mr. Pibb, I am with you. The best way to reduce prices, is for everyone ot stop going. That is a “viable solution”, as well as an option. One can always buy the DVD for $15.99 when it’s released at Best Buy.

    • trujunglist says:

      @MrPibbistheGreatestSodaEver:

      You’re just choosing the wrong genres to enjoy. Try enjoying some of the less popular genres. Your wallet (and ears) will thank you for it. What do tickets to the biggest concert, with 6-8 of the biggest acts in my beloved genre, cost for me? At most, about $75. That’d be the equivalent of you seeing Coldplay, Oasis, Weezer, ____, ____, ____, and ____ (sorry, I don’t know a lot of bands) all at one concert for, at most, $75.
      Then again, I hate 99.5% of the crap that normal people listen to, so YMMV.

      • Raiders757 says:

        @trujunglist:

        Agreed Truj. You can see some great smaller national and world touring acts for under $30. Most of these bands are ten times better than the popular big name acts who are so loved by the masses.

  4. Jevia says:

    I appreciate the settlement, but only 3,000 customers will get to buy tickets at face value? And the venue holds how many? While more than a drop in the bucket, there’s still no reason why all tickets for the venue could not be sold at face value.

    • statnut says:

      @Jevia: So does this mean since I sent a complaint email, I’ll be one of the 3,000? I doubt it.

    • Chris Walters says:

      @Jevia: The article says that only about 2,200 people actually bothered to file complaints with the NJ AG, so that’s probably where they came up with the number.

      If you have a problem with something, you should *definitely* report it to the appropriate agency. This is a good example why.

  5. philmin says:

    How is ticketmaster still not breaking some sort of law?

    • LegoMan322 says:

      @philmin: They have been breaking the law since I can remember. Even more now with the internet. How LiveNation, TicketMaster and TicketsNow are not punished. I refuse to purchase any concert now because of my dealings with TicketMaster.

  6. jklug80 says:

    The problem is that people are willing to pay the price. If people wouldn’t pay $80-$1000 for a ticket they wouldn’t sell for that much. People are dumb.

    • dadelus says:

      @jklug80: Agreed, people shouldn’t be dumb enough to pay that much for tickets. Let the artist play a couple of arena shows with only a coffe house worth of people and prices will start dropping.

      That being said, it still doesn’t excuse the sorts of tactics Ticketmaster allegedly used here.

      • mbd says:

        The issue was not that people were willing to pay the higher price, it was people were not clearly informed they were paying a higher price. What Ticketmaster did was after you selected the face value ticket price you were interested in, they bounced some customers to TicketNow site to complete the purchase. It was done in a way that made it not clear that you were no longer on the Ticketmaster site or what price you were going to be charged.

    • Maurs says:

      @jklug80: You can’t really just say people are dumb, though. It’s a classic case of supply and demand. It is a product that some people are simply willing to pay $1000 for. If bands didn’t choose to keep prices at the “reasonable” level they are at now, and raised the price until the number of people willing to pay were equal to the number of seats in the venue, it would be a beautiful tribute to the spirit of capitalism. And it’d suck for those of us who don’t want to pay more than $20.

      • Raiders757 says:

        @Maurs:

        Yes, you can say people are dumb, if their willing to pay $1,000 for a concert ticket. Supply and demand doesn’t excuse people from stupidity, or give them a reason to do something stupid. Stupid is as stupid does. In the case of music fans, we’ve been stupid for a really long time.

        Well, I say “we” rather loosely. I saw the light in the early 90′s, when all the amphitheaters started going up like 7-11′s. Amphitheaters are made to gouge the consumer, and it worked. Ticket prices in my area went from $25 to $85 real quick when ours went up.

    • Erin Haliburton says:

      @jklug80:

      The problem is Ticketmaster is a MONOPOLY. The venues all have exclusive contracts, so the artists have no other options, and the fans have no other options if they want to see their favorite performer. Ticketmaster is literally the only way to buy most tickets nowadays. When tickets are going for a couple hundred dollars each, only the richest 20,000 fans get to go to the show. It sucks but until the government breaks up the monopoly there isn’t much choice.

      • Raiders757 says:

        @Erin Haliburton:

        The fans do have other options. Don’t go, and buy the DVD for under $20.

        @mbd:

        The issue does begine with the fans, as it was the fans that sheeply allowed Ticketmaster to get to where they are now.

  7. dadelus says:

    Problem: Evidence of Ticketmaster fraud

    Resolution: Evidence removed

  8. metaled says:

    So the Attorney General get’s his tickets??? This doesn’t prevent ticketmaster from doing what it always has. Big deal about the redirect. It doesn’t stop them from scalping the tickets for 500% the face value before tickets go on sale. Ticketmaster and the artists who enable them WILL NEVER get $1 from me! I haven’t bought a ticket or a song/CD (RIAA!) in over 12 years. and No, I don’t download songs, I’m happy with the local radio stations.

  9. JustinAche says:

    Wait, if the tickets were sold out, and were only available at TicketsNow, how is Ticketmaster supposed to give them out at face value?

  10. Graham Kilmon says:

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned an EECB to the band you want to see… I bet they would comp you free tickets if you friend them on myspace

  11. Slow2Whine says:

    Did anyone else think that Ticketmaster just ignored what everyone has been screaming about for months (maybe years) now? Me thinks they’ll still transfer blocks of tickets to their resale site to create an artificial demand, while dropping the link that says, “the withheld tickets you’re looking for can be found at our sister site for 3x the price.”

    People weren’t complaining about paying face value prices…they were complaining about the tickets that should have been available, being only purchased through the resale site at gouging prices. Can we expect anything more then a slap on the wrists?

    I was expecting the AG to investigate how the tickets are sold off, which are “sold” to the resale site, and how (if any) has ticketmaster increased their operations to accommodate the expected traffic to sell face value tickets within the first hour of being offered. (other then moving tickets to a resale site)

    • ARP says:

      @Slow2Whine: Don’t worry, it’s all legit. Say tickets go on sale for a show at 10:00 a.m. At 10:00:01, TicketsNow places an order for 1/3 of the available tickets (even though it would be technically impossible if they had to use the same system that we all did, with the captcha, etc.). See nothing wrong here, just move along.

      • PhiTauBill says:

        @ARP: Please send all of these comments into the NJ A.G. They need to understand that they are dropping the ball here.

  12. Irashtar says:

    So, They’re no longer linking to the reseller. Are they still selling in bulk to the scalpers? (Yes)
    What’s going to happen when the next show in New Jersey has tickets go on sale? (They’ll again brazenly break the law)

    Seriously, how hard can it be for a little bit of oversight? Watch the ticketsnow site. if tickets appear there before you could legally (Purchase manually, print out), slap them with ever increasing fines.

  13. lutton says:

    This legalized scalping is yet another case of big business getting to do what the little guy gets arrested for doing.

    MLB does it too with it’s resale system via Stubhub.

  14. coold8 says:

    Don’t piss people off in New Jersey

    • PhiTauBill says:

      @coold8: Yes, because the government will step in, give the offending party a tiny slap on the wrist as well as a fine to bring in revenue to the states coffers, and bestow tacit approval of a business model that employs shady practices (like selling blocks to “resellers”) that continues to screw the ticket buying public.

  15. Jeff McRae says:

    early last year, I was going to buy tickets for Eddie Vedder’s solo tour show in Boston. On my first pull at 10:00am, it showed sold out and the only tickets available were at TicketsNow starting at twice face value for the last row in the house.

    I can live with the service charges and convenience fees… Frankly, I know that a ticket to a $25 show will cost much more than $25. I bought tix to Gavin DeGraw in Boston last weekend and 2 $25 tix cost $70 after fees, not too bad. There is a convenience for me to not have to drive out to the venue and pick them up on a cold Saturday morning. And I’m fine with that.

    • Anonymous says:

      @Jeff McRae: I don’t mind a convenience fee charged for an online sale of tickets. What I don’t like is a convenience fee charged for EACH ticket you are purchasing on your one transaction. I have purchased tickets for a group of 6 people for a concert, and with the total amount of all the convenience fees, I could have purchased 2 more tickets.

      Of course, charging the fee for each ticket could be said to reduce the amount of tickets scalped. I’ll just buy my tickets from the box office.

  16. King Biggs says:

    thats why you should do SXSW. great way to hear good NEW music and meet friends from around the globe. AUSTIN knows how to party! see you there!!

  17. Charlotte Rae's Web says:

    If we go to concerts now, we buy only lawn seats. We go to the venue to get them if we can and we ask friends/neighborhood if anyone wants to buy the four-pack of tickets for cheaper.

    Humorously, I just got an email from Ticketmaster for Upcoming Events in my area. ha.

  18. axiomatic says:

    I have stopped buying tickets period. I wish I could see my team / band / whatever… but I refuse to be party to this kind of extortion/larceny that has gone on with Ticketmaster unchecked for years.

  19. PLATTWORX says:

    While I don’t deal with Ticketmaster one would think some judge would rule “TICKETMASTER CAN’T OWN TICKETS NOW AND HAS TO SELL IT”. There is too much temptation for them to pull stuff with ticket prices.

    Selling Tickets Now should be a key to Live Nation merging with them.

  20. xskeptictankx says:

    A few weeks ago I was trying to buy Flogging Molly tickets at Ticketmaster.com when I was suddenly redirected to TicketsNow where the same tickets that I should have been able to purchase for $30 were ranging in price from $69 to $127. I clicked the “back” button on my browser to attempt to get back to Ticketmaster but it wouldn’t let me out of this TicketsNow hell.

    I was so angry that I closed the window and decided that I didn’t need to see Flogging Molly a third time if it meant paying for Ticketmaster’s deception. Two weeks later (the day before the show) a friend called and informed me that she had JUST purchased tickets to that show, that very afternoon, for $30 on ticketmaster.com. I was livid because I had already made other plans after the redirect incident.

    I’m still so mad about it that I’m tempted to quit trying to go to shows at venues that don’t sell their own tickets @ the door. What a fucking scam.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Well, they got off the hook no problem. Fuck em, they will NEVER get a penny of my money, I haven’t payed for a song/ticket in years, and I never plan to. Companies want to try and fuck me over, I’ll turn around and fuck them right back. The ONLY shows I still go to are the ones I can walk to in local places, usually 5-15 bucks at the door

  22. Ramzilla says:

    Ticketbastard sucks. And so does Bruce Springsteen.