Ticketmaster Is Evil And Must Die


Ticketmaster is an evil monopoly that steals cash from defenseless consumers. They are infinitely more evil than their hated 30% surcharge would suggest, and they must be destroyed.

A Modern Monopoly

Did you know you aren’t Ticketmaster’s primary customer? Sure, you and your friends bought 141 million tickets last year, but Ticketmaster’s loyalty belongs to their true customers: venues and promoters. Ticketmaster secures its monopoly by goading them into multi-year agreements that empower Ticketmaster to act as their exclusive vendor. In exchange, Ticketmaster gives them money. Lots and lots of money. Several million dollars upfront, sometimes.

Ticketmaster doesn’t earn a cent from a ticket’s face value. It all goes straight back to the venue, promoter, and talent. To sweeten the deal, Ticketmaster also shares a slice of its exorbitant fees, giving venues and promoters an incentive to support Ticketmaster’s outrageous markups. “It’s not us!,” they can whimper. “It’s that damn TicketBastard!”

Ticketmaster’s 9,000+ exclusive agreements makes them the gatekeeper to 90% of the nation’s arenas and amphitheaters, 70% of our clubs and small theaters, and most of our basketball, hockey, and football games.

So What Am I Paying For?

  • The Service Charge

    This is Ticketmaster’s cash cow. The majority of their $1.2 billion in revenue comes from this all-encompassing charge. It appears on all tickets, and cannot be escaped.

  • The Facility Charge

    This is the venue’s cash cow. Sure, they also take a slice from the ticket’s face value, but they want more, dammit, and they get it here.

  • The Processing Charge

    Wait a minute… didn’t you pay a service charge? What’s the difference between processing and service? Right, there is none. Well, technically that’s not true. The service charge is refundable and the processing charge is not. Ticketmaster claims that the processing charge covers their expenses for taking your order and finding you seats. Sounds like service to us.

  • The Convenience Charge

    By far, the most annoying name for a fee. It’s the price you pay for printing out the tickets you bought, even after paying a service and processing fee.

All in all, the fees usually add up to 30% of the ticket price, sometimes even more for cheaper shows. And these are the fees that consumers pay. If you’re in a band, Ticketmaster demands 3.5% of your gross sales, plus an administrative fee to cover the cost of processing credit card fees, which you would think might fall under the aegis of a “processing fee.”

It’s supposedly an accomplishment that Ticketmaster is even willing to disclose its fees, but knowledge in this case leads to anger, not power. In any other instance, pricing transparency by itself is a good thing because it empowers consumers to compare prices and shop around. Ticketmaster’s exclusive agreements, however, undercut any potential price shopping.

Why Hasn’t Anyone Destroyed Ticketmaster?

Pearl Jam tried and failed. The band landed before Congress to publicly brand Ticketmaster as an evil monopoly.

The heart of their issue was ticket pricing, but Ticketmaster had a history of screwing Pearl Jam:

  • For a Seattle concert, Ticketmaster agreed to donate $1 of their $3.25 service charge to charity. Right before the tickets were set to go on sale, Ticketmaster reneged and threatened not to sell the tickets unless they could boost the service fee by $1 to cover the cost of their “charitable” contribution. Ticketmaster ended up stiffing the charity.
  • Ticketmaster then wanted to charge a $3.75 service fee on an $18 ticket. Pearl Jam forced them to list the charge separately, and it wasn’t until the band threatened to go to another venue that Ticketmaster acquiesced.
  • When Pearl Jam tried to bypass Ticketmaster in Detroit by selling tickets through their fan club, the ticket giant threatened to sue the concert promoter for violating their exclusive agreement. Ticketmaster ended up disabling the promoter’s ticket machine.
  • In New York, Ticketmaster threatened the Paramount Theater for violating their exclusive agreement after Pearl Jam told fans over the radio to visit the theater to buy tickets at the box office.

In their Congressional testimony, Pearl Jam said: “all of the members of Pearl Jam remember what it is like not to have a lot of money, and we recognize that a teenager’s perceived need to see his or her favorite band in concert can often be overwhelming.”

For the band’s 1994 tour at the height of their popularity, they tried to cap prices at $18 and limit surcharges to 10%. Ticketmaster refused and the tour was canceled.

How The !@#$ Is This Not A Monopoly?

We dunno, but President Clinton’s Justice Department thought Ticketmaster’s arrangements were a-ok. Pearl Jam retained the über-corporate lawyers at Sullivan and Cromwell to needle the Justice Department into investigating Ticketmaster for antitrust violations. After a brief investigation, the Justice Department ruled that people were only indirect buyers, and that Ticketmaster’s true customers were venues, since they were the ones consuming Ticketmaster’s services. The venues weighed in on Ticketmaster’s side and seemed to voluntarily hand over their business, so there was apparently no monopoly.

If Only They Weren’t So Evil

Ticketmaster might be less reviled if it wasn’t so frustratingly difficult for consumers to beat out resellers and other middlemen to buy tickets for themselves to popular events. Chicagoist’s failed attempt to get tickets to the American League Championship Series is all-too familiar:

A refresh of the page gives us a new scrambled word to fill in and then we’re thrown into a que. Wait time estimated at 15 minutes or more! WTF? We watch in anticipation for the number to get smaller and after a few minutes, it does. Now it says 11 minutes. A few minutes more, and it’s down to 7 minutes.

But wait! Now it says 14 minutes! What’s going on here? We think something fishy’s going on, so we open another browser window to see what those wait times do. It remains at 15 minutes. The first one keeps jumping from a short as 6 minutes all the way back to 15 minutes again. Not good

Finally, we seem to be getting close. Now this is about 25 minutes after Noon, but it’s finally at 4 minutes. Then 2 minutes, back to 4, then 2, now 1 and then…

We get some sort of warning because another Ticketmaster window is open! We close that window, but in the meantime the first window sends us back to the original event page to select quantity and level again. We’re shit out of luck! There will be no ALCS tickets for Chicagoist, all because Ticketmaster’s computer system isn’t built to handle exactly the type of transactions that are most critical to their business.

The same thing happened to us last year when we tried to buy playoff tickets for the Rangers. We were working computers, phones, anything with a hook into Ticketmaster, but we couldn’t connect to anyone. Within 10 minutes, all the available tickets were gone. Real fair.

Are There Any Viable Alternatives?

Cracks are finally starting to form in Ticketmaster’s money-encrusted shell, but the competition doesn’t inspire confidence. Everyone looks at Ticketmaster’s 30% surcharge and thinks how good all that undeserved cash would look in their pocket.

Live Nation, the largest U.S. promoter, is in the process of ditching Ticketmaster to build their own ticketing system, but only because they want to upsell junk and expensive packages while keeping the lucre for themselves.

Major League Baseball bought up a stake in Tickets.com, which will soon become their primary ticketing agent, but Tickets.com also levies a 30% service fee. MLB also ditched Ticketmaster for secondary ticket sales in favor of StubHub, which charges the buyer and seller a combined 25% fee.

TicketWeb was once an alternative for smaller shows, but they were gobbled up by Ticketmaster. Bandsintown is still around as an aggregator for small shows. While they don’t sell tickets directly, the site will point you to Ticketmaster alternatives, if any are available.

You can also try using Brown Paper Tickets, which bills itself as “Fair Trade ticketing,” but it can be difficult to find a participating venue.

Oh Come On, There Has To Be Some Viable Alternative

For the committed, there is really only one true alternative: abandon hope and the internet and take an urban field trip to the box office.

PREVIOUSLY: Why Do Ticketmaster Events Sell Out Instantly?
Ticketmaster Levies Entirely Believable $327 Per Ticket Convenience Charge
Live Nation To Challenge Ticketmaster, Sell Fans More Junk


Edit Your Comment

  1. tinky XIII says:

    The last “big” concert I attended was Blink-182 in 2001. Two tickets on the lawn came up to around $70. The inflated ticket prices just aren’t worth it anymore.

  2. alysbrangwin says:

    If only someone would trust-bust them and ETS.

    • SableHemlock says:

      @alysbrangwin: ETS is evil. I have to take the GRE. I’m sorry, $140 for the “privilege” to spend 4 hours not running to jump out the window? And I’m still miffed about the exorbitant fees they charged me to take the AP exams.

    • Skipweasel says:

      @alysbrangwin: My son took his Y6 SATs in June or July – we still haven’t got the results. He’s now well underway at his new secondary school. ETS Europe screwed up right royally in the UK.

  3. nybiker says:

    The answer to this problem is to NOT attend any events whereever there are surchages. Notwithstanding Brown Paper Tickets’ desire to be a ‘fair’ outlet, the others are just in business to grap as much as the market allows.

    I am not saying to boycott any performer, just don’t go to any events. Buy / download an album. Join their fan club. Watch them on tv or online. Just don’t go to an event that demands you bend over for them. Plain and simple.

    If you pay the fee, then stop complaining about it.

    In a related concept, if you don’t vote, then you can’t complain about the government.

    Just my opinions, I could be wrong.

    • howie_in_az says:

      @nybiker: That’s what I was going to suggest, with the added notion of emailing the venue and performer stating exactly why you refuse to use TicketMaster and supplying them with alternatives. If enough people cry out I have to believe the venues will change their minds about using TicketMaster.

    • Veeber says:

      @nybiker: I’m wondering if there would be a way to set up some type of craig’s list or what not for tickets. My brother lives in NY so I always have him go to the box office for me to pick up tickets. If someone wanted to post a “tickets needed” on the local craig’s list and say “I’ll pay $10 on top of the cost of the tickets …”

      I guess it will depend on a level of trust, but if someone could figure out a way…

      • nybiker says:

        @Veeber: The problem with some venues is that even going to the box office you still get raked over the coals. Weird, yeah.
        I’m looking at a ticket stub from July 27, 1994 (yes 14 years ago) for a Janet Jackson concert at Radio City Music Hall. Total price was $60. The ticket has the TicketMaster watermark on it. I don’t recall if I bought it at the theater, but I believe I would have, since I worked in Midtown at the time, so it would have been very easy for me to get there. I suspect that even back then I paid all the fees that TM was charging. I haven’t gone to any concert since then. That’s probably because, unlike me, my rock band performers have aged. ;-)

        And another comment on surcharges, I suspect that baseball parks have a similar fee arrangement with TM, so my comments about not going apply to them as well (granted, I stopped caring about the Mets after 1994 strike, so it was no big deal for me to skip a trip to Shea and due to a corporate john name for the new stadium, I’ll never pay for a ticket there either).

    • ViperBorg says:

      @nybiker: “In a related concept, if you don’t vote, then you can’t complain about the government.”

      Actually, I have to go with the late George Carlin on this one.

      Mr. Carlin: “I don’t vote. Two reasons. First of all it’s meaningless; this country was bought and sold a long time ago. The shit they shovel around every 4 years *pfff* doesn’t mean a fucking thing. Secondly, I believe if you vote, you have no right to complain. People like to twist that around – they say, ‘If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain’, but where’s the logic in that? If you vote and you elect dishonest, incompetent people into office who screw everything up, you are responsible for what they have done. You caused the problem; you voted them in; you have no right to complain. I, on the other hand, who did not vote, who in fact did not even leave the house on election day, am in no way responsible for what these people have done and have every right to complain about the mess you created that I had nothing to do with.”

      And I end this in the words of Dennis Miller, “That’s just my opinion, I could be wrong.”

      • Sidecutter says:

        @ViperBorg: By not voting against, at the very least, the worst choice (whether or not you think either choice is super), you tacitly doubled the vote of someone who was voting *for* the people who screwed up things. It is not really possible to not vote because of this.

    • madog says:

      @nybiker: That’s what the electoral college is for, to prevent the masses from electing someone “they” [I know that’s vague, you can just call “them” the rich and powerful, i.e. not you] don’t want in office. Don’t you remember that Bush actually lost the popular vote in 2000? Your vote does NOT count and never will…

      • aaronw1 says:

        Yes, GWB lost the popular vote, but that is not the bar one must pass to become president. There are many alternative schemes that would be more “equitable” than the current electoral system (for some values of equitable), but most of them would change things in a way that does not benefit all involved parties equally. Even something as simple as a ‘rank your choice’ 1,2,3 system would cause a lot of votes to go to the 3rd parties, which the parties in power naturally do not like. Check [en.wikipedia.org] for more info. The point made in the constitution (argue with it if you want) is that a straight popular vote system would result in a wholesale leaving of campaigning from the non-populous areas completely.

    • negitoro says:

      @nybiker: Aren’t live shows are a band’s biggest source of revenue? Buying their album honestly feeds the labels and leaves scraps to the musicians themselves. Watching them on TV or being their fan online is great and all, but it certainly doesn’t get them the money in their pockets.

  4. Lyrai says:

    The last concert I attended was the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers live like a decade and a half ago.

  5. kc2idf says:

    Hey! I know the guy behind that TicketBastard logo. He’s here in the Albany, NY area and used to co-host a radio show with me.

  6. ptkdude says:

    Some local events here in Atlanta use Xorbia tickets. They do have a convenience or processing charge (I don’t remember what it’s called), but it is much cheaper than Ticketmasters (on the order of $2 or $3 usually). They email you your tickets immediately, AND they don’t charge extra for that like Ticketmaster does.

  7. balthisar says:

    I guess the real answer is to hide the surcharges in the ticket prices, so that we don’t know we’re paying it.

    I admit that emotionally, it makes me grind my teeth any time I have to pay these surcharges. But when I step back and put my brain into gear, I realize I have the choice whether to pay or not. If the surcharges were hidden, then the net price would be the same, and I’d still have the choice whether to pay it or not.

  8. Pylon83 says:

    I absolutely despise ticketmaster. They do essentially have a monopoly on the ticket sales market. That said, monopoly =! illegal. Monopolies are illegal in certain circumstances, but not in others. Much of it has to do with the particular circumstances of the firm in question. Moreover, even under multiple-firm antitrust law, if Ticketmaster wasn’t engaging in blatant price fixing (telling venues/performers how much they have to charge for the ticket itself), it gets difficult for the DOJ to prosecute them for price fixing. One can imagine that Ticketmaster does offer the market (venues) substantial efficiency increases over selling tickets independently. Sometimes these efficiencies can be substantial enough to outweigh any actual or potential anti-competitive conduct.
    It really sucks that Ticketmaster has such a stranglehold on the market for tickets, but until someone comes up with a better way to sell online, through a single-point interface (e.g. each venue not having to sell independently), Ticketmaster (or at least their business model) is going to prevail.

  9. Linger says:

    Etix.com is another reliable ticket outlet – at least here in the southeast.

  10. cristiana says:

    Going to the venue to purchase tickets in order to avoid the service charge doesn’t even work all of the time. Years ago I wanted to see a show in NYC, so I went to the venue to purchase the tickets, and they told me that I had to buy them from Ticketmaster. Rather than pay the crazy fees, I just didn’t go to the show.

    • zlionsfan says:

      @cristiana: I live about 10 minutes from an amphitheater that Ticketmaster services, and my friends and I went to a concert there this year. I drove to the site when tickets went on sale and purchased them directly from the box office … and I still had to pay an endless array of charges. I don’t remember if I ended up saving much, if anything, compared to the online prices.

      I just remember that it hurt to sit down on the way home.

  11. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    Seems like Amazon should take these bastards on. They sell everything else.

  12. Benny Gesserit says:

    My better half and I are seeing Margaret Cho this coming Friday in Hamilton, Ontario of all places. All amounts are in Canadian.

    Seats – $45.50 x 2 = $91
    Facility Charge $3 x 2 = $6
    Convenience Charge $7.75 x 2 = $15.50
    “Delivery” (TicketFast – email me a PDF) $3.50 (only 1 though)
    Order Processing Fee $3.25

    $119.25 for $91 worth of tickets.

    Margaret, if you’re reading, you’re the only person we’d put up with this sh*t for.

    As this is Carey’s last day with us, could we send a nice round of applause for a “rant for the ages”.

    • leprendun says:

      @Jim (The Canuck One): My partner and I just saw her in Indianapolis. It was pretty good, but the opener (Kelly of Shoes fame) was awful. She just stood on stage and did her shoes bit, which is great in a video format but completely pointless with her just standing on stage doing it!

  13. KSPRAYDAD says:

    I just go to the box office in my town for shows at the arena…no surcharges that way.

    • Pylon83 says:

      I’ve been to a few “box offices” in the Kansas City area that act as TicketMaster “outlets” and charge the full ticketmaster price. Personally, that’s more infuriating than paying the fees online, as at least online it is admitedly convenient. There is nothing convenient about buying tickets in person, yet Ticketmaster still believes it warrants a “convenience” fee.

      • KSPRAYDAD says:

        @Pylon83: So your local arena lets ticketmaster sell the tickets? Wow.

        • leejames says:

          @KSPRAYDAD: I’ve had the same problem. The ‘box office’ at most venues is just another TicketMaster point of sale. This lets you avoid the ‘convenience charge’ but you’re still stuck with the service and processing fees. You save a dollar, maybe, out of the $8+ in fees. The promise of big savings by going straight to the box office is, unfortunately, often a myth.

  14. bsbeamer says:

    Worth noting that in 1996 Pearl Jam tried to do a tour without TicketBastard at all. They were partially successful. They would only play at non-TicketMaster venues and tickets were sold through the FT&T ticketing system.

    They played venues without a TM contract – and because of this the tour was very limited. Tickets were extremely hard to get ahold of. I remember being on the phone for close to 2 hours before finally getting through and getting tickets for the New York show at Downing Stadium on Randall’s Island. Downing Stadium took over 5 hours to get out of. Public transportation options were not even close to reliable – and we’re talking about New York City. The second night at the venue they played their longest show ever as a “thank you” to the fans who were there the night before and “suffered” through the madness.

    North American shows were played in Toronto, OH, MD, ME, NY, CT, NC, SC, and FL – that’s it. They could not find any other non-TM venues.

    • @bsbeamer: The whole Tickmaster fight just makes my love for Pearl Jam even stronger!

    • nycs says:


      Totally agree about the difficulty of getting tickets to Pearl Jam’s non-Ticketmaster tour in 1996 but I was at that show at Randall’s Island, as well as numerous other big concerts at Downing Stadium, and public transport was super easy with tons of dedicated shuttle buses going back and forth between the venue and the subway station on 125 and Lex.

      However, this was back in the day before Metrocards, and those folks who didn’t have tokens or exact change were scrambling — they obviously missed all of the signs that said “buy your token in advance.” I guess “it’s evolution, baby.”

      Many years and concerts later, it ranks as one of my favorite’s of all time.

    • mndjkc says:


      Better check your list again. The Tour opened in Casper, Wyoming. Lot of us missing from school that day.

    • mndjkc says:


      ok I guess we were considered part of the back side of the 95 tour. Wikipedia FTW

  15. KateGauth says:

    indie tickets is a viable alternative for smaller venues. it’s one guy and he does ticketing for venues in 16 states. only one charge added to the ticket price, which i’ve seen as low as 1.75$.


    • SybilDisobedience says:

      @KateGauth: This may be spam, since you’ve never posted before, but thanks for the info, nonetheless.

    • midwestkel says:

      @KateGauth: They are still charging 20% – 25% with no refunds. I think it might be spam also.

    • IndieTickets says:

      Hi, this is Bill B from Indie Tickets. I just wanted to clarify that this comment was not posted by anyone from Indie Tickets. Indie Tickets is based in Minneapolis and provides ticketing services (online and phone) for small to medium sized venues and promoters, primarily focusing on music events. We are indeed smaller than Ticketmaster but (fortunately) we are not a one person operation at this point.

      @KateGauth : Thanks for the mention!

      @midwestkel : All sales are indeed final, but orders are of course refundable if the event is canceled. Our service fees vary based on the price of the ticket, scaling with the price of the ticket to cover transaction costs, but we believe we are competitive with any comparable full-service company.

  16. Illusio26 says:

    I absolutely hate ticketbastard. I tried getting 4 tickets to a Chicago Bears game this year. I was at my computer 10 minutes before the tickets went on sale for the year. I kept hitting refresh and at exactly noon I tried to purchase 4 tickets to a game. No luck. I tried multiple times and it kept saying sold out. Best I could get would have been 1 ticket to a game. Are you trying to tell me every game sells out in 15 seconds?

    Aboslute BS. So once again, we can either pay a stupid markup on stubhub or just not go. Totally not fair.

  17. Etoiles says:

    I was really disappointed to find that tickets for a spring tour of one of my favorite artists — not a big pop headliner, either, but someone who plays small 200-500 seat venues typically — are available only through TicketMaster. (This was not the case for any previous show of his I’ve been to.) We’re going to see him about an hour away and it’s not like either of us really has the ability to head to the club while its box office is open to buy tickets, so we’re pretty much stuck with TicketMaster, and it sucks. My boyfriend paid $67 for $40 worth of tickets.

  18. UnicornMaster says:

    I know a friend who works at TM and gets paid jack. Apparently, other than the free tickets working there was miserable, as I am told. So I’m wondering with their 1.2Billion in revenue, where does it all go?

  19. graceless says:

    I’m only halfway through it, but I’ll hit a couple of points… Bill Clinton and the owners of ticketmaster had some mutual interests, that’s how come it isn’t considered a monopoly. It’s called real world politics… certainly it sucks.

    The only good thing about giving ticketmaster your email, is that they tell you who is coming to town, and when…

  20. BeeBoo says:

    Boycott. It’s the only answer.

    • reflection717 says:

      “…the Justice Department ruled that people were only indirect buyers, and that Ticketmaster’s true customers were venues, since they were the ones consuming Ticketmaster’s services.”

      Wait a second, we’re not customers? We’re the ones paying the money to Ticketmaster. Then Ticketmaster gives a portion of that money to the venues (hush money?).

      Saying that the venues are their customers is like saying the customers of a restaurant are the waiters.

      @BeeBoo: a boycott won’t work, you’re asking millions of people not to go see any entertainment anywhere.

      • Kekaha says:

        @reflection717: I think it is more like saying that restaurants are the waiters’ customers in that they supply a service that restaurants pay for. Since you also pay them via tips, you are their customer too.

        Boycotts do work. Indeed, you are asking millions of people to do something but only a percentage of them have to respond to be successful. If a band that normally sells out starts playing to venues that are only 90% full, the impact on their bottom line is enormous since their expenses remain the same and the 10% you are denying them is pure profit.

        Aside from being an action that might resolve the problem, boycotts also give you the satisfaction of knowing that you refuse to support bad practices.

        • madog says:

          @Kekaha: Then TM would raise their prices even higher to compensate for that 10% loss because, of course, they would see that as a great idea, and then even more people would stop going and it would have a major snowball effect on their income.

          Although, it would be extremely difficult with the current “artists” that are out today. If stupid people keep supporting these shitty bands where will it end? The only reason their prices are so high is because they know people will pay. I suppose that applies with any band though, good or otherwise and their hardcore fans.

          Kind of like how when Trent Reznor [NIN] asked his record label why his DVD’s were selling for $10 more than others at stores and they essentially replied with, “Your fans are so dedicated that we know they will pay more for your stuff.”

    • othium says:

      @BeeBoo: I agree. Just don’t go to any event that uses Ticketscammer.

      Pretty easy for me to decide, as I don’t have enough income to use the bus system. LOL

      • dragonfire81 says:

        @othium: The problem with that is their pesky monopoly means that sometimes when you really want to go to a certain show you really have no choice but to deal with Ticketmaster unless you go second hand, which can be risky.

    • Moosehawk says:

      @BeeBoo: But if you boycott, the biggest party you’re hurting is the band. Bands make most of their money from concerts and merchandise (from concerts).

      If you boycott, where else would you go to get the tickets?

      • frodo_35 says:

        a DUH without the bands greedy support this would not be happinin. When the bands and the fans say nomore it will stop

      • xip says:


        If you go to the box office for the venue, you don’t have to pay Ticketmaster fees.

        • junip says:

          @xip: sometimes the venue doesn’t have their own box office, and your only alternative, if any, is to go to the local ticketmaster location which will still charge all the fees, even though you’re going to get them in person.

  21. Eldritch says:

    I was going to see the Decemberists last year, but they cancelled their show. Ticketmaster sent out an e-mail saying we’d get out money back, which took over a month and a half to happen. Bastards.

  22. ElianaGalute says:

    Based on this article, it appears that Ticketmaster might be in violation of its merchant agreement with Visa and MasterCard, as retailers are precluded from adding a surcharge to cover their merchant interchange fee. More info at http://www.WayTooHigh.com – WayTooHigh.com – The Credit Card Interchange Report


  23. timmus says:

    I haven’t been to a big concert in 11 years — partly due to the guaranteed shitty seats (most of the good ones stolen by companies and promoters) and the ridiculous prices. Of course I can hardly blame Ticketmaster when customers are the ones flocking to buy $80 tickets. It’s insane that people spend money on this racket. The best concerts I ever went to were $20 seats back in the 1980s.

  24. DaWezl says:

    I don’t have as much of an issue with the rate at which events sell out. Most of the time, there are large blocks of tickets held out of the initial sale, whether due to fan club seating, promoter seats, or other preferred seating arrangements (i.e. season ticket holders). When you are talking about an in-demand event, such as a playoff game, where there are, say, 10,000 people trying at the exact same time to purchase perhaps 3-5000 ‘open’ tickets, even if you are clicking at the first millisecond of availability, there’s going to be more people clicking at that exact moment than there are tickets available.

    What really bothers me though is the way Ticketbastard is now going after the secondary market for tickets. They offer the “Ticket Exchange” program, which not only allows them to get a second fee from you, the consumer, but then allows them to get a third fee from the person buying your tickets. (And interestingly enough, they don’t allow you to sell your ticket below face value, even if you want to) They also sometimes have auctions, such as for Elton John, where you can bid on the ‘best seats’. So those prime tickets are never released, and TM can pump the purchase price up to as high a price as the market will bear.

  25. OletheaEurystheus says:

    My first concert was PJ Harvey in 99. 3 tickets 120 dollars for general admission. I have only done one concert since then and it was only because I got in free. Its just not worth it to me to pay the prices when I can see good local bands for 5-10 bucks around Jersey.

    This is also the reason I dont do broadway either. Neither gives me any reason to spend hundreds of dollars for service about equal to a movie theater, and I dont go to the movies because I think ticket prices are insane.

  26. thejumbo says:

    While I typically agree with the attacks leveled at Ticketmaster, I have to relate a story which is on the other side of the coin.

    I recently purchased 5 tickets to the Nine Inch Nails concert on Halloween in Nashville, TN. I did it through Ticketmaster online. After purchasing my tickets, I come to find out that I purchased 1 too many, due to a drop out from our group. I contacted Ticketmaster via their email service as soon as I knew, and was contacted back within a day via email. They offered to refund the extra ticket AND all the fees, despite their clearly stated policy not to do so. They were quick and polite, and it really impressed me.

    So, until there’s a different, better way to get tickets to events that matter to me, I guess I’ll be using Ticketmaster. And seeing as how Nine Inch Nails (Trent Reznor) has abandoned his record label and is financing all of his own album production AND his tours, if there’s a better way coming, I’m hoping that he finds it.

  27. halo969 says:

    I’ve always hated Ticketbastard and there have been plenty of times after adding up all their charges I decided not to bother attending the event after all. It’s a shame really. At this point the only band I’m willing to help make those a-holes rich for is The Cure.

  28. “For the committed, there is really only one true alternative: abandon hope and the internet and take an urban field trip to the box office.”

    Except that TicketBastard operates large portion of those, too.

    That company really must die.

  29. J.Heck says:

    The last concert we attended was Weird Al. $39.95 per ticket, x2. The total was $119.90. $119.90 for $79.90 worth of tickets.

  30. littlemoose says:

    I go to a lot of concerts, so I’ve experienced this Ticketmaster ridiculousness. Thanks so much for this article, which was really informative.

  31. HollerJoller says:

    I don’t mind paying ticketmaster the extra $10-$20 surcharge, beats standing in line at the box office (half the time you can’t even do that). I hate ticket broker sites (i.e. Stubhub), that charge four times as much as what ticket master would. I bought four Jason Mraz tickets for $160.00 and Stubhub has one ticket going for $265.00 – that’s insane! Ticketmaster does better than most at trying to get tickets out. Look at what happend for last years World Series, nobody could get tickts because the Rockies used Paciolan, Inc for the online sales. The site crashed and everyone was out of luck…..Although ticketmaster did just buy Piciolan, so maybe they will be better.

  32. karmaghost says:

    Ticketmaster’s website is notorious for not being able to handle the rush of traffic that large music and sporting events can create. For the 2007 college football season, Penn State used ticketmaster as the only way to get tickets for the first time. It was first-come, first-served for all student tickets (Freshman, Sophomore, etc.) at the same time. The servers couldn’t handle it, people using Internet Explorer got crazy errors, and the countdown timers didn’t know what was going on. It took me over an hour of wait time to get my tickets and many people were screwed over.

    For the 2008 season, it was much improved as they sold each class of tickets on different days, but for more “popular” tickets like Freshman and Sophomore, there were still problems.

  33. dvdchris says:

    Excellent post, Carey.
    Perhaps as we enter the financpocalypse TicketBastard will find no one can afford to buy their sh!tty tickets.

  34. soapdish says:

    I’d be willing to guess that it would, in this day of the internets, be far easier to do the sort of thing Pearl Jam attempted back in the mid-90’s.

    And I agree that the biggest problem is not so much the final price of the tickets (although that is a big problem) but the fact that the tickets are listed as being “$25” or whatever but then end up totaling $40 after the surcharges are added and you don’t know that until you try to buy the tickets. If that’s not a bait-and-switch I don’t know what is.

  35. dahlink_natasha says:

    This is the one of many reasons I prefer to patronize good local talent instead of giving my money to Ticketmaster. Bottom line is, I can’t afford it. All the fees and the hassle of getting to the venue and finding a parking place, waiting in line in massive crowds…versus the local guys, where $5 gets you in the door and you park less than a block away. You get to sit a lot closer to the band too, and they’re always good to fans.

  36. bravo369 says:

    Living in the New York area, it’s especially annoying because I can never get through to ticketmaster and any event is sold out instantly. i would have to pay more for tickets on stubhub etc. I wish the yankees, giants, etc would just sell tickets the boxoffice ONLY. that way real fans can wait in line and get them everytime. Years ago, I wait in line for 5 hours to get Nets NBA Finals tickets. I tried calling ticketmaster on my cell while waiting and it’s amazing that i got tickets from the box office and never got through on the phone.

  37. SybilDisobedience says:

    Support local music, guys. I go to 2-3 shows a month and see great bands that are coming up – and I never pay more than $7 a show, no stupid fees. Even hayseed towns generally have at least 2 venues in the area that host small shows.

    It’s just not worth it to me to pay to see a “big” band perform at a stadium. Ridiculous markup? Nosebleed seats? No thanks. I’ll go to a local show and stand 3 feet from the stage any day. And I’ll probably have a better time (and not pay $8 for a damn beer).

    • richcreamerybutter says:

      @SybilDisobedience: Exactly. For all the headaches of living in a large city, I am extremely fortunate to have access to so many incredible shows in my own neighborhood for $5-10 an event (for 3-4 bands).

  38. artki says:

    > Within 10 minutes, all the available tickets were gone. Real fair.

    Sounds like your definition of “fair” equals “I got a ticket”.

    Please outline your “fair” system to sell 25,000 tickets to 250,000 people who want them.

    (my idea? auction)

  39. leejames says:

    This was an excellent article.

    Dear Gawker Media:
    Why is Carey getting fired again?

  40. UnityPers?phon says:

    In a perfect world, the box office would have the initial onsale. I would gladly line up for a shot at tickets from the only source. Ticketmaster would then get to sell whats left starting that evening. I remember when MSG instituted a policy directly opposite of this. You would see an ad and in small print it would say “if tickets remain, available at the box office the following day at 9am.”

    MSG said it couldnt handle the lines. If there is a single venue in the world that is designed to handle a couple thousand people waiting for tickets, it’s msg.

    I live in portland now. Alot of the big shows here are at the roseland theatre. There is no way whatsoever to get tickets w/o a service charge. No box office. I bought tickets at the venue once and was charged a full service charge. They use ticketswest who is just as evil really. $20 ticket, bought from an outlet the straight up service charge was 8 bucks. I decided i didnt really need to go to the show….

    Oddly enough a couple of venues that do use ticketmaster (the wonder ballroom, the crystal ballroom, the alladdin theatre) charge $1 per ticket if bought from the box office. Which i totally think is fair in comparison.

    Someone in congress needs to get involved. If they advertise a $30 ticket, and there is no way to actually purchase a ticket for $30, isnt that misrepresentation? false advertisement? something?

    and dont get me started on the paying extra to print out your own ticket on your own paper with your own ink. I personally think those paper tickets are tacky, i like my actual stubs.

  41. AgentTuttle says:

    A proper boycott of this evil would be if nobody paid ticketmaster and we all just show up at the venue with cash in hand. It’d be like trick or treat, but we’d say “Show or riot.” But that would take collective cooperation. We need a really good hacker to get into their system.

  42. newyorkmcgee says:


    You would have to really work to make a boycott work. It’s not asking millions of people not to go see live entertainment. You would need to start small. Ask 3000 fans to not purchase any advance tickets for a show, and just line up and pay at the door.

    1)the venue will be PISSED as hell to have to deal with that, and maybe rethink the value of ticketmaster, or at least their policy of not selling surcharge free tickets at their own box office.

    2)street scalpers usually buy extras from concert goers on the street for less than face, and then mark it up to the next guy. No advance tickets cuts alot of that out.

    3)scalpers who have tickets they paid full price will be forced to sell the tickets at face to even make anything back. When the show sells out from the walk up they might be able to demand a premium, but are they really going to want to wait that long?

    It would take a decent sized band, with a decent and loyal fan base to make something like this happen, but, it would be cool.

  43. silver-bolt says:

    Now this is a fucking article. Shame it’s Carey’s last hurray :(

    Anyways, last two concerts I went to was the Metal Mayhem tour (5 female fronted or all girl metal bands) and then a week later, Cypress Hill. The tickets for the Metal Mayhem were 15 bucks (bought at the door day of show meant extra 2 dollar fee), and got the tickets for Cypress for free. None of that silly ticketmaster stuff (Would have been 25 and 30, respectively). The opening band for Cypress never showed, and they were an hour late. Got there at 8, show started at 12. It was fucking awesome.

  44. starshard0 says:

    Wait, so let me get this straight. People pay 30% extra on the price of a ticket. But is the ticket actually available anywhere for the printed price? What’s the difference between paying $110 for a $90 ticket if the ticket isn’t actually available anywhere for $90?

  45. KirkPandion I says:

    I’ve managed to avoid Ticketmaster successfully twice this year now.
    Tickets for the Vans Warped Tour ’08 (which have skyrocketed over the past 10 years) were marked up insanely high with the various charges, so I said screw it, I’d try my luck at the door. I walked right up to the box office and paid face value.

    Then just this week I wanted to hit the Rise Against/Alkaline Trio US tour and 2 $28 tickets would have been $83+. Again, I walked right up to the box office at the venue, day of show, and paid $30 (the $2 building charge was still there).

    Obviously for non-GA events this wouldn’t help much, but for things that will probably never sell out, this is the best method. (It’s also noteable that I got my tickets for both “Same Day” which if I went through another Ticketmaster outlet, would have seen an even BIGGER markup)

  46. lotusflwr says:

    Ticketmaster is such an egregiously greedy monopoly. I go to very very VERY few events, mainly because I refuse to pay half again as much over the ticket price in fees to this company. I hate Ticketmaster, I don’t get how what they’re doing is legal. Bust them up, DoJ!

  47. Thank goodness for this article, well done.

    Another way that TicketBastard really gives you a backhanded bitch slap is, after you’ve futilely tried and failed to get tickets to an event, and find out they’re “sold out,” the TicketMaster website forwards you to a page that says: “We’re sorry, we could not find tickets matching your request. Please try one of our partners for your tickets by clicking the links below!” And these “partners” are simply the overpriced ticket brokers that resell the tickets at 4x the box office price, thus negating the maximum-purchase limit that, according to TM, is suppose to thwart brokers and resellers from buying all the tickets! Really!?!

  48. Diet-Orange-Soda says:

    Buy from the venue directly!!! Charge by phone and request will-call tickets. There’s usually always a service charge still but at least it’s half that of Ticketmaster. (It may even be *going* to Ticketmaster – I don’t know.)

  49. jonny4 says:

    I recently went to a concert at a small venue here in Houston and was charged almost 100 % of the ticket value in charges. The ticket was 15 and I was charged 14.26 in charges which I think was absolutely ridiculous but I didn’t want to chance there not being any tickets left at the venue.

  50. Trai_Dep says:

    This is a stunningly well-written article. Cary, you will be missed so FUCKING* much. I hope the Powers That Be will let us know where Cary & Chris end up writing at, if they choose to continue their writing online.

    I hate that grumpy oldsters in Congress/The White House with long-abiding jealousy/contempt for The Cool Kids were able to wreck commercial radio (via Clear Channel) and live venues. We need to go all Wild On The Streets on them. Or make them watch Footloose with eyes wedged open all A Clockwork Orange style until they rescind their decisions. Stoopid grumpy oldsters!

    * First and last time I didn’t expletive-deleted as appropriate, but this calls for special measures. Sorry, Roz!

  51. MacGyver says:

    Do like the NHL’s Ottawa Senators did – give TM the boot and start your own ticket issuing agency, and take back the revenues that are rightfully yours.

  52. Outrun1986 says:

    Well, since if there was an event that I wanted to see I probably wouldn’t be able to go anyways because the resellers auto-buy all the tickets before the public even gets a chance to buy them at all. Unless I want to pay double or triple the going rate of a ticket just to see some band lip-sync. Camping out won’t work with the autobuyers who buy up all the tickets then resell at stubhub, so you are basically forced to go there for your tickets and who has time for camping out anyways. If I am going to go to some event its going to be a very small, local type event where this type of scheme is not involved. Its also not likely that anyone that I want to see will ever come to the USA anyways. I think the last concert I went to was Garth Brooks in 1999…

  53. UmayCadmus says:

    Watch out for TicketsNow.com. They’re a TicketMaster owned company. They tried to screw me out of $350 for tickets I paid for that they screwed up my mailing address twice when shipping them too me. They refused to refund me even though their “100% Guarantee” on delivery before the show date wasn’t met. I had to fight with them for 2 weeks, file a claim with the BBB, and finally was refunded my money. I am refusing to do business with TicketMaster and their subsidiaries.. Fuck them!

  54. myfigurefemale says:

    ticketfusion.com is a another great alternative. they don’t charge the venue anything for setting up their box office and give them the equipment for free. the consumer pays a couple buck surcharge and that’s it. we just need to convince more venues to use them!

    i run a box office at a ticketmaster venue and let me tell you, i don’t like them any more than you do – but i have no choice as my company signed an exclusive agreement with them. and we use them in our physical box office as well as online and over the phone. they charge us for the equipment, ticket stock, cc processing fees, everything. they suck. soon there won’t be box office managers anywhere, just ticketmaster kiosks and i’ll be out of a job.

  55. Ubermunch says:


    Just stop going to TM shows. It’s that simple.

    People will cry and whine: “But where will I see [place name of act/event here]?” Answer: you won’t and that’s a good thing. It’s only when you stop paying TM fees and vote with your wallet that this will cease. If you keep being willing to be fleeced they (TM, artists, venues, etc.) will keep the shears ready.

    I go to 20+ baseball games a year and pay $25 total in service fees. How? I buy partial plan season tix from the ball club. Any other tix I buy from the club are also service fee free. For music acts that I dig… if they are TM based… I send an email to the band reminding them that I will not see them because they are linked with Satan/TM. If I MUST see the band then I go to the box office and hope that works.

    Even then, ticket prices are WAY to high.

    I pretty sure that in the economic “readjustment” we’re having bands are going to find that one of the first canceled purchases for many will be live show tix. Good luck getting $35 for a lawn ticket or $350 for floor. And you know what? Serves ’em right! Look to their RIAA and tell me what the music/recording/artists industry’s value structure is. To them all I say: “Can’t shake the Devil’s hand and say you’re only kidding!” (Thx: TMBGs!)

  56. gte910h says:

    I’ve seen ticketalternative.com used by people in Atlanta Venues. Seems reasonably priced.

  57. jmarqrund says:

    indie tickets is an alternative that’s used around minneapolis and by looking at the website quite a few other places as well.

  58. felixgolden says:

    I don’t know that LiveNation is any better. I went to a show at their Cruzan Ampitheater in West Palm this summer. Tickets were $43.25 plus a $16.25 convenience fee EACH (of which part was a $6 parking charge) plus a $5.15 order fee. I had purchased two tickets ahead of time at the above rates. By the time the concert came around, I needed three more tickets, two of which were for the lawn. I picked those up at an FYE the night before and by the time all the fees ($6 parking,etc.) and such were added on, those tickets cost me over $40. I picked the last ticket up at the box office at the venue the day of the show. That one had the $43.25 face value. It still had the $6 parking, but had a $10 day-of-show surcharge instead of a convenience fee. That ticket cost me about $2 more than the ones I pre-ordered.

    Altogether I paid almost $100 in “fees” on $180 worth of tickets, including $30 in parking even though all five of us went in one car. This venue is located at the South Florida Fair Grounds, so parking is not an issue, as there are multiple buildings, venues, etc. If you want to park close to the ampitheater, you can pay extra for VIP parking, otherwise you’re stuck walking a decent distance.

  59. thesnowysoviet says:

    The problem with ticket-pricing monopolies is, like the article says, that *you* are not their customer. You’re the venue’s customer, and the venue is the ticket company’s client. The only way to demonstrate to a venue your dissatisfaction with their choice of ticket company is to not buy tickets for that venue.

    But it’s not really correct to call Ticketmaster a monopoly, either. They certainly own a dominating share of the market, but they’re not being anti-competitive… they’ve just got better branding, and are able to sucker more venues into dealing with them. And they certainly don’t keep themselves price-competitive, what with the 30% markup and all.

    One viable alternative the article missed is BoxOfficeTickets.com (or, if you’re in the Portland Ore. area, pdxtix.net).

  60. dragonfire81 says:

    Wholeheartedly agree. Great graphic too. :D

  61. Keavy_Rain says:

    I only use Ticketmaster when the cost of driving to the box office is higher than their fees. They may be evil but they are convenient to use.

    For example, last summer I took my dad to see Rush. The venue was an hour away from where I live so the fuel, wear on my car, and my time exceeded the cost of their service fee for me. Plus they have a location inside of FYE at the local mall, which allowed me to run multiple errands in one trip. $75 for two tickets in the middle of the venue and $10 for parking but the show was totally worth it.

    For events in venues closer to me I always use the box office but for events further away Ticketmaster is worth the added cost to me.

  62. Maglet says:

    It seems that I’ve tried so many different ways to get tickets to an event (out of town), but the only way that works is TicketMaster. It’s absolutely a monopoly and I hate it! We just went to see Patton Oswalt in Wilmington, Delaware and I went directly to the Grand Opera Houses website and was able to secure tickets through them. There was a handling charge that I absolutely didn’t mind paying. That handling charge got me my tickets mailed to my house in a matter of 3 days. I paid no convenience charge, no molest-me-with-your-ticket-charges fee, etc.

    Why can’t we do that with EVERY event? Just go directly to the venue/venue’s website and purchase tickets? Oh, that’s right… because then TicketMaster wouldn’t be able to get PIZZAID. That’s “rap” for paid. Yeah, I’m down. But I’m not down with TicketMaster. Booooo.

  63. julieannie says:

    It’s even more annoying because now it’s not just concerts. Local theatre events or even science exhibits like Bodies are now being controlled by Ticketmaster. As a consumer, there aren’t a lot of alternatives for those, especially for popular events that you can’t even buy at the box office anymore.

  64. EudoraToad says:

    For sporting events, it seems like the best way I’ve found is to call a team ticket rep and buy tickets over the phone. I’ve only had to pay face value and get the tix at will call.

    To the guy complaining about StubHub, keep in mind that it is a resell site. Most of the time, people will resell at higher than face value. Sometimes people can’t go and just need to get rid of the tickets. That’s when you can find good deals.

  65. synergy says:

    Well. Sorry, but the final conclusion is what I was going to say would be the easiest solution. If enough people disavowed their shady business, they’d shrivel up and die or improve. Either way, the consumer wins.

  66. SerafinoFigulus says:

    Startups/companies have tried, but Ticketmaster buys every one up or sues everyone to death (see most recently, Flashseats).


  67. Scrum says:

    Can’t Google find a way around this? They can do just about everything else. GTix anyone?

  68. roguemarvel says:

    My boyfriend has a love hate with ticket master. Love, because the arena in his home town (Casper, Wyoming) doesn’t use ticket master so they get some great acts to come out who want to avoid ticket master. Hate because, well he doesn’t live in Casper any more and pretty much everyone out here in California does use ticketmaster and it sucks

  69. PriceIsWrong says:

    The only problem I have with not going to the show, is that is where the artists make the bulk of their money. I know they get signing bonuses and a cut of record sales, but they don’t typically get as much as they would by going on tour.

    I guess that’s the reason guys like KISS ad the Stones keep going in and out of retirement, without too many new records.

    I haven’t personally bought tickets for a show in almost two years, and they were a gift. What I hate now is that a lot of venues pack on a parking charge to each ticket, instead of having you pay at the gate, which was really convenient when you could load a van full of friends and go to a concert and split the cost of parking, coming out ahead.

  70. tawker says:

    What I don’t get is the $2.50 charge for them to EMAIL you your tickets. You would figure it’s basically free to email a pdf of a ticket image and yet they charge you for it.

    How hard can it be to run a ticketing system, really. I’ve speced out a lot of the basics when half asleep. You buy tickets, tickets have serial numbers (barcodes) and when someone uses the barcode at the door, it no longer is good to be admitted to the venue.

    Oh yea, TicketMaster is a monopoly, that’s why.

  71. RichasB says:

    Ticket Master gives me an ulcer :( I paid $52 for tickets that are only $36. I despise this company with a passion! How can you have a fee named “Convenience Charge”?!? Who is it conveniencing? Their wallets!

    I remember when these bastards didn’t charge for the e-mails back like two years ago. I can’t believe they charge you for that now. It’s ludicrous! They’re the Bank of America of the music industry. Always trying to nickle and dime you. I can’t wait until they charge for their own website maintenance. This is the future of this Monopoly:

    Tickets: $09.99
    Service Fee: $02.99
    Convenience Fee: $01.99
    Website Maintenance Fee: $03.99
    Lunch at Emeril’s: $98.35

    Order Process Fee (which is different from the serive fee, how???): $04.99

    Total: First Born Son

  72. banmojo says:

    boycott – although an interesting idea, just won’t work as there will always be saps willing to take the abuse to see their fave band. (just like although I’ve been advocating boycotting the jetlines clearly no one has been backing my concept – you shortsighted JERKS!! jk)

    no, no, no, this will take individual BANDS selling their tickets directly to the customer, preferably AT THE F$#@ING DOOR!! wouldn’t only work, it would prevent scalping too.

  73. BinaryTB says:

    Why don’t bands just come up with some sort of concert tour “union” (or whatever you want to call it). Say advertise it in advance that in 3 years, they will not go to any TicketMaster venus (thus giving venues to not go exclusive with TicketMaster). This will give other non-TicketMaster outlets a chance to sell tickets and compete in the processing fee arena.

  74. Cycledoc says:

    There is a broad issue here. Our system seems to allow monopoly whether through market place manipulation as in Ticketmaster’s case or through patents (which sanction generation long monopolys on technology) or through deregulation (which facilitates market manipulation).

    As a result costs (prices) are higher than elsewhere and our outcomes/access suffers. Is this the natural outcome and failure of “free markets?”

    It’s a paradox that freeing markets leads to monopoly.

  75. dewsipper says:

    I recently got pre-sale tickets for an event through LiveNation. I was hoping they wouldn’t be as bad as Ticketmaster, but I was wrong. $11.40 convenience charge per $58.00 ticket. I bet it’s close to the last event I’ll attend.

  76. ManiacDan says:

    Does anyone know if there’s any sort of guarantee for ticketmaster? My wife and I went to a Presidents of the United States of America concert last Friday at the House of Blues in Dallas and the venue double-booked with an Oklahoma University Alumni Party. This delayed the concert by more than an hour (the bouncers told us the band wasn’t ready, then the band came out to apologize to the line because the bouncers told them there was a problem with the equipment). It also meant that half the crowd wasn’t even there to see the act, there were OU-themed announcements throughout the concert, and they even got on stage to do drawings in between acts.

    Does ticketmaster offer any sort of “the concert will start relatively on time and will be filled with people who purchased tickets and won’t act like a birthday party” guarantee? Or am I just dreaming of a day when I can actually get a ticket from someone within 5 degrees of separation from the band?

  77. TMurphy says:

    Boycott doesn’t work so well in this case, as there are a limited number of seats, and they will all sell. Boycotting only works if they can provide as much of a product as there is demand for.

    A large, organized boycott that keeps venues empty is the only way to get it to work, and the chances of that happening are almost nil.

    This means the only way to get through is somehow get enough bands to work together, instead of Pearl Jam taking them on alone. The bands are the only people with power here that might not need huge financial incentive to listen to you.

  78. mzs says:

    I hated when i lived in Chicago and I could buy tickets at the box office instead of Ticket Master and the theater itself would charge me all sorts of extra fees. I bet they thought they could get away with it since their fees were less than Ticket Masters, and yes they did.

  79. themanishere says:

    sounds great.

  80. lalaland13 says:

    I’ve only ever really been to one concert (young and grew up in the country, alas). It was Tegan and Sara in Tulsa, and my ticket was less than $30, even with a $2 or $3 venue charge or whatever. I was pretty happy with it, and I got to see one of my favorite bands without going through Ticketmaster. Almost every time I go to the TM Web site, I feel a bit like I’m in some evil evil place that is trying to steal my soul. Or my money. Or both.

    I can’t say for sure that I’d never use TM, but I try to avoid it. I was looking at a Coldplay concert, but the tickets were already $45 or $65 or $85, plus $15-$20 in fees to sit way up in the nosebleed section. No thanks.

  81. iseemoo says:

    I’ve used Dukat King for concert tickets and the fees are very small comparted to TicketMaster. Luckily, most of the local venues sell tickets through some of the record stores here with no extra charge if you pay in cash and only $1 if you charge.

    I still have to go through TM because I’m not willing to drive an hour and a half to all the venues in the city to buy the tickets. TM is evil.

  82. axiomatic says:

    I’ve just stopped going to big shows where the tickets are run by ticketmaster. I just go so small shows at bars now since I refuse to hand ticketmaster money ever again.

    Hear that bands and venues? I don’t attend anymore because of ticketmaster.

  83. Livardo says:

    Face it, “boycotting” the events serviced by Ticket Master is not going to work. When your favourite act comes to town and you have 1/2 a million people trying to buy tickets for a venue that holds 75k people, everything goes out the door. It’s emotional blackmail, and it works very well.

  84. vespa59 says:

    If you all hate Ticketmaster so much, don’t go to the shows. But that’s only the first part. Don’t go to the shows, and make sure that the artists and promoters know you’re not going to the shows. Every time I see a TM show listed that I want to go to, I go through this process:

    1. See if the venue has a box office. Find out what their hours are. Most venues will sell you tickets to any of their shows on nights that they are open, and most are open for a few hours on the weekends to sell tickets as well. A couple of weekends ago, I made a nice Sunday afternoon of riding down to San Jose from San Francisco to buy tickets to see The Roots. Yeah, it took a few hours, but it’s worth it to not support Ticketmaster. Plus, it was a nice motorcycle ride.

    2. Check Craig’s List for tickets. If the show isn’t sold out, and it’s something fairly popular, you can often find tickets there. My policy is that I will pay people face value, not including service charges, plus five dollars for their trouble. I make sure to tell people that the reason I won’t pay for their service fees is that I don’t want to support Ticketmaster. This hopefully makes them think twice before buying from them next time.

    3. If there’s no way to buy tickets other than Ticketmaster, I just don’t go. There is a short list (like less than 5) of artists that I would consider making an exception for, but for the most part, I suck it up and skip the show. I then spend the few hours I would have been at the show doing some research and sending some emails. First, find out who the promoter is. You can usually find this on Ticketmaster’s site, as the listing will say something like “Goldenvoice presents”. Go to their website and email all the contact addresses and tell them you’re not going to any shows where you can’t buy tickets elsewhere. Once in a while, you may be surprised to be contacted by someone telling you of an alternative way, but for the most part, it will feel like an echo chamber. Keep doing it though. It’s like voting. One person’s one email isn’t going to do anything, but if a lot of people complain, they may consider alternatives. Same goes for the venue. Look up the venue’s website, and email all contacts. Suggest to them that if they had box office hours, you would definitely prefer to give them your money directly. Next, email the band. Find their website and their MySpace, and any other contacts you can. Find the contact for their booking agent and/or manager. Let them know you’re a long time fan and you’re bummed that you have to miss their show. Make sure you point out to them exactly what you’re being charged and what the fees are. Bands often have no clue that their fans are being ripped off. I once watched Mitch Hedberg (R.I.P.) rail on his audience for 30 minutes once upon finding out how much they paid for their tickets before realizing that the only fair thing to do was to walk off stage and incite the crowd to demand refunds. People almost tore the place down!

    It takes a little bit of motivation and you can’t be lazy about it, but I’ve found that I can get to around 75% of the shows I want to go to in the Bay Area without patronizing Ticketmaster.

  85. junip says:

    I used to go to lots of concerts before the ticketmaster fees got so exorbitant. Now I only go to one show a year, maybe one every 2 years. Why? It’s not worth the price to pay $40 for a show that is supposed to be $18 or $20.

  86. HogwartsAlum says:

    TicketBastard. That’s funny. :D

    I can’t afford those crazy prices. The last concert I went to was in 1999 or so and it was Men at Work at a bar downtown. I wanted to see them in ’83 but they were sold out. It took 16 years, but I finally got to see them!

    It only cost $13 and I was right up front.

  87. theblackdog says:

    With how fast some tickets go, I suspect that Ticketmaster employs bots to suck up the tickets and then resell them through their answer to Stubhub, TicketsNow. Every time I got denied Baltimore Ravens tickets this year the day(s) they went on sale (had to move the sales to the next day because their server crashed) it would suggest that I try TicketsNow to get my tickets.

  88. SulochNoppit says:

    madeit.com just launched an e-ticket alternative, free for some events, I think its $99c fee for most tickets.

  89. trujunglist says:

    The problem is that those big name artists demand big name profits. Have you ever seen anyone wearing a DJ Hype t-shirt? It just doesn’t happen because Hype isn’t marketed in the same way as some band like Pearl Jam. Ticketmaster is just preying on your gullible mass-marketed tastes.
    You should expect to pay big prices for big name acts, including pro baseball games. Or, you could choose to try out different types of music or go to a minor league sport. Ticketmaster couldn’t care less about even the biggest name electro DJ or best minor league hockey team because they know they couldn’t get away with charging those prices and still expect people to come to the show.
    The more disinterested you are in the mainstream the less Ticketmaster you’ll have to deal with, but if you want the latest and greatest, there’s always a price to pay.

  90. jnrcorp says:

    I purchase all my tickets directly from the venue. It avoids all the extra charges.

  91. dweebster says:

    I think this is good news for entertainment over the long run. Ticketbastard’s monopoly will squeeze and squeeze purveyors of their systems until they wise up. With money and credit tightening, this may already be well along.

    Meanwhile, the smart ones will suck it up and find other things to entertain themselves with. Maybe I’m just an old geezeer, but watching a few millionaires play sports as I suck down flat $9.00 beer in waxed paper cups just doesn’t hold the allure it once did. Forking out six to ten times the price (including parking) of an album in order to watch bands I like pander to a wasted audience in an acoustically crappy venue kinds bores me now.

    There’s a hell of a lot of cheap and free theatre, music, sports and other things happening in your local community, and the Ticketbastards can’t monopolize ’em all. Let them strangle the life out of the “popular” stuff, and meanwhile visit your local park, community theatre, coffeehouse open mics, etc. It’s cheap, the food’s better, and it’s easier to get in and out.

    Ticketbastards, DiveNation, and the rest of their ilk can’t maintain their hold over you if you choose to expand your interests beyond the stuff they have monopolized. Save your cash for other things more enriching than pimped venues and artists.

  92. baristabrawl says:

    TicketMaster is dishonest? Um…no shit. I haven’t been to see anything since Cher’s farewell tour and before that it was 1995. Screw ’em.

  93. MelitaAss says:

    Ever hear of OvationTix. It’s a web-based software that allows the bands and the theaters to set their own service fees. The bands can also pre-sell merchandise and CD’s.

  94. mariospants says:

    I am pleased to report that Ticketmaster has never received any money from me: I jump the fence.

  95. SuchitraJorts says:

    Dont support a venue that uses Ticketmaster, obviously.

    But that wont happen since the mainstream public will spend spend spend to see their “favorite” artists that week.

    Support DIY. Screw the fake promoters and venues that do it for the $$.

  96. HainesKodie says:

    Sometimes it’s not even enough to take a trip to the box office. Ticketbastard’s hold is so severe now that going to the box office for tickets at venues like the Hippodrome Theatre in Baltimore will incur a minimum of $5 in service fees – $2.50 for the restoration fee and, you guessed it, $2.50 “convenience” fees for the BO to have a ticketmaster hookup.

  97. ironchef says:

    let’s regulate these bastards.
    break them up like AT&T

  98. LeonardJibs says:

    It’s even worse now. Ticketmaster now has its own scalping company, TicketsNow. That’s why we fans never even see good seats during the sale, yet TicketsNow has them 5 minutes later. Not only that, but TM links you to TicketsNow from their “sorry, no more tickets” page.

    How is this company allowed to operate in America???

  99. coachmo says:

    I used to work at a store that had a Ticketmaster machine. I’m not proud of this, but it is what it is. Every time there was a big-name concert or event on sale scalpers would call and offer HUGE amounts of money to “pull tickets” for them. We would spit out about a dozen tickets first, before anyone was allowed in the store to buy their own tickets. Then we’d pop out extras all along the way during the sale. I bet I made $25,000 that way. Funny thing is…the two scalpers who came to pick up the tickets we found out later were actually Ticketmaster employees in the local Ticketmaster office. Criminals!

  100. Anonymous says:

    My roller derby league, as well as many, many roller derby leagues around the country use Brown Paper Tickets and they are a great alternative that is becoming popular with smaller groups, like leagues owned and run by the skaters as well as non-profits. As more and more people start using them, they will become a player in the market. Look for Ticketmaster to try to buy them.

  101. Anonymous says:

    Im against TM (aka:TB) as well, in Aug of 2007 I purchased tickets to see RUSH in KC, through the backstage club, this was done “pre-sale” at a totla cost of $77.00 each, got good seats too, first section from the stage and near the center of the stage, 9 rows back. I checked the TM site when they did go on sale and the same area of seats would have been $147.00 + all the fees and surcharges, at the end of the year some of the “scalping” laws had been changed in Missouri, and in June of 2008 Rush came back through the KC area, due to limited internet access I was not able to get tickets through the backstage club, and was forced to search the TB site, I soon found that pretty much ALL of the fair to descent seats had been “moved” to the tickets now site or eBay….to get seats in the first section area they started at $250 each and went up into the $1,000 range.
    I am a major RUSH fan, and until this second show I have not missed a concert within a reasonable drive (2-3 hrs) in over 24 years…but with tickets at that price….might not see another show.
    I mean I dont mind having to pay “fair” fees etc, everyone has to make a living…but I am NOT going to just bend over and let then put it too me like that.
    The tickets I got through the backstage club went through “live Nation” and now I see Rush has “tix@musictoday.com” listed on the fan site, I dont know much about them, but thus far they seem to be a little better than TB.

  102. Anonymous says:

    TicketBastards is right!!! I paid $234 for 2 “full view” tickets to Madonna in San Diego. A sound booth on the floor, blocked my entire view of the stage! I paid all that money, waited for 5 months for the show, and all I got was the ability to watch the video screens or the back of a TENTED sound booth. All while people who paid half what I paid got to see EVERYTHING!!!

    I’ve e-mail and called TM. Their response…. we only refund tickets for canceled shows. Oh, I forgot… my tickets were PRE-SALE! TM says these are the best tickets available! BULL!

  103. Anonymous says:


    Here in the UK i’m involved in an internet box office called https://www.WeGotTickets.com

    We’re an ethical company who only charges a transparent 10% booking fee on tickets below £25. no postage, service charges, transaction costs and no ‘kick-backs’ to the promoter either!

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  106. Anonymous says:

    Not only does Ticketmaster benefit from an original sale of tickets, but did you know that if you purchase more than the “allowed” ticket limit, IE: it allows you to purchase 4 & then you log back in & purchase 4 more tickets, they have the right to take ALL your tickets – After you have paid for them away from you WITHOUT Notice! Thus, they take your money & hold it up to 24 hours prior to showtime & then resale your tickets! You could be out your money for months (plus you paying any interest on credit card) before getting a refund!
    The whole gist, is that Ticketmaster sales the tickets & gets paid–should the event NOT sell out-they have their money…should the event sell out–they resale the tickets & basically get paid twice! BE WARNED! Read the fine print!!!

  107. Anonymous says:

    saw the London version of Jersey Boys – bought most expensive seats in the house from Ticketmaster (deemed “best available”) “Worst available” better description!

    Now plan to see same show in Atlanta but I will not pay Ticketmaster ~$10 for a ~$38 seat – will go to the box office.

  108. scotty321 says:

    If people are really outraged by this — and they SHOULD BE — then everybody needs to do what I do: I ONLY purchase my tickets directly from the concert box office. That’s right — I drive down there and purchase my tickets in person. You usually end up getting better seats for less cost; you can return your tickets in case you can’t make the concert; and you can help bring down Ticketmaster in the process.