Ticketmaster’s New Blog (And Why I Hate Them Even More Now.)

I recently bought tickets to see Maroon 5 for one of their upcoming shows in Los Angeles. Let me tell you, I love Maroon 5 almost as much as I love my dog – which puts them pretty far up my totem pole of most-cherished entities.

Of course, like most mere mortals in Los Angeles without a connection to Ryan Seacrest – or some other music industry insider – I reluctantly bought my tickets on-line through Ticketmaster.

Anyway, a few days ago I got my tickets in the mail and was immediately reminded why I hate them so much.

See, I bought four tickets at a total face value of $260. Fair enough. However, after Ticketmaster tacked on their world infamous “convenience charge” ($50.80) and an order processing fee ($4.55), I ended up paying $315.35.

Believe it or not there would have been another $2.50 tacked onto the bottom line if I would have decided to print my tickets up at home – using ink and paper I already paid for – but I managed to avoid that extremely dubious charge by having Ticketmaster mail the tickets directly to my house.  I know.

So imagine my surprise when I found out today that Ticketmaster launched a brand new blog this week called Ticketology.  (Apparently, “Bend Over and Take Your Medicine” was already taken.)

According to Ticketmaster their new blog is intended to, among other things, “Bring you regular posts about our business from the people who lead, live, and love it.”

Rock on, Ticketmaster.

The first entry was from Ticketmaster’s Chief Proctologist Executive Officer, Nathan Hubbard, who immediately won me over with his very first sentence: “Today we’re excited to announce three important changes to the way we interact with you.”

Hey, he’s off to a great start!  Keep talking, my man!

“We get it – you don’t like service fees.”

Damn straight, Nate!

After doing a double take to make sure I read his second sentence correctly, I immediately subscribed to Ticketology’s RSS feed.

I could barely contain myself waiting for the next line announcing Ticketmaster had renounced all of their stupid fees once and for all!

“You don’t like them,” continued Hubbard, “Mostly because you don’t understand what the heck they are for.”

WTF?

Truth be told, I don’t like the damn fees mostly because I think they are a crock of dog feces.

“We’ll try to do a better job in this space over the coming months of helping you understand our business.”

You do that, Nate.  (I should have known.)

Hubbard then went on to tout Ticketmaster’s new “transparent” ticket interface that shows you how much you can expect to pay as early as possible in the buying process.  But the new process still doesn’t incorporate per-order charges like taxes, and those pesky processing and delivery fees.

So will their excessive and ridiculous  fees ever go away?  Not if you read between the lines.  As Hubbard blogged:

“The reality of the live entertainment business is that service fees have become an extension of the ticket price.  Most of the parties in the live event value chain participate in these service fees either directly or indirectly – promoters, venues, teams, artists, and yes, ticketing companies – and service fee rebates are our largest annual expense at Ticketmaster.”

After that, I vaguely remember him sharing something about a more fan-friendly return policy, but by the time I got to that part I kind of lost interest.

Fool me once, shame on you, Ticketmaster.  Fool me twice, shame on me.

Somewhere near the end of Ticketology’s very first post, Hubbard informed us that, “At the new Ticketmaster we wake up every day obsessing over the fan experience.”

Terrific.  And on that sour note, I signed off from Ticketology.

Then I immediately unsubscribed from their blog.

27 comments to Ticketmaster’s New Blog (And Why I Hate Them Even More Now.)

  • Kathy

    That is funny in a sad way. But that is what we get when a company operates as a near monopoly in the ticket industry. Unless you are willing to go to scalpers and ticket agencies that can seem to be in bed with concert promoters too, where else are we supposed to go when a concert or other big event comes to town?

  • Colin

    If you don’t like paying for the convenience of purchasing tickets online & having them shipped to your front door, you can always stand in line at the box office & buy your tickets fee-free.

    Or maybe you go to a ticket agency/scalper/broker to purchase your tickets — wait… they charge a convenience fee as well! Just like most businesses that provide a service.

    I hate the Ticketmaster/Live Nation monopoly just as much as the next guy, but I think these changes are a step in the right direction.

    When people see more of the total price upfront, they will be less likely to buy the ticket in the first place. As less people buy tickets, prices will go down. Ticket prices & fees are only high because people continue to pay them.

    • Rob

      Colin made the comment: “If you don’t like paying for the convenience of purchasing tickets online & having them shipped to your front door, you can always stand in line at the box office & buy your tickets fee-free.”

      That’s not even true, at least where I’m at (St. Louis, MO). I’ve had more than one case of going to the box office, and still getting charged some kind of fee. I don’t remember for sure, but it might not have been quite as much as ticketmaster (I refuse to give them the respect of proper capitalization – it’s my very tiny, completely irrelevant act of defiance), although I think it was close to the same. They had the nerve to call it some kind of “box office fee” instead of a convenience fee (since it was clearly not convenient for me to have to drive to the box office fee to pay my fee).

  • Jenna

    I just wish Ticketmaster would raise the price of the tickets to include taxes and such rather than itemize fees so I’m more aware of them. I also feel like airlines can do this for baggage fees.

  • “Fool me once, shame on you, Ticketmaster. Fool me twice, shame on me.” – The shame is on me, but I don’t have a choice. I wanted to get tickets to a concert in November but I was so turned off that I had to use ticketmaster and pay their fees that I haven’t bought the tickets yet. I wish that “the new Ticketmaster [really] wake up every day obsessing over the fan experience.” It has not been working so far.

    @Colin: Tickets for the concert I want to go to are only available through ticketmaster – no box office option! I think it irks me the most when I don’t have a choice, and when the only choice is ticketmaster.

  • I guess it’s a good thing I’m a homebody; I haven’t had the pleasure of using Ticketmaster in a few years. But it’s so nice to know that their blog is going to explain their business to the general public. Sounds like they’ve had so many complaints about their fees, they needed an outlet to validate why they charge so much!

  • I’ve always hated the Ticket Master racket. I have gone to the box office a few times and purchased tickets direct rather than add to the bottom line of Ticket Master.

    I too have always laughed at the notion that you pay more to print your own tickets.

    I wonder how many comments they will have to scrub from their blog or that won’t get posted at all because I’m sure most people are in the same boat of being sick of their policies and prices. I’d go over and check but I don’t want to give them the satisfaction of a page view as I’m sure they’ll use each and every page view as a means to justify their crazy a$$ pricing schemes.

  • financialwizardess

    OK, I know this isn’t a political blog, but man, don’t you sometimes feel like the politicians are saying the same thing?!? “People don’t like the healthcare bill because they don’t understand it…” Hogwash!

  • I didn’t think it was possible to hate Ticket Bastard more! I don’t go to many concerts because I can rarely justify $80-$100 per ticket for a couple of hours of entertainment. I am lucky to live near a couple of independent places who use their own ticketing software and I can do will call at the box office.

  • No, no, no. It’s a blog, see? Where TicketMaster’s CEO can embrace the new media and talk directly to you, the ticket buyer. About the ticket-buying experience and how TicketMaster can best serve your ticket-purchasing needs moving forward.

    You just know that the VP of customer relations sold that bag of cr*p to the CEO, who bought off on it and didn’t have anyone read his comments before posting them. Like, someone who might say, “Mr. Hubbard, maybe you could turn the condescension down a trifle?”

    With what’s essentially a monopoly, TicketMaster could sure do a better job of selling itself to the public. They’ve been one of America’s most hated companies for at least a generation now.

    Now about Len’s taste in music…

  • @Kathy: Yep. I agree that Ticketmaster is essentially a monopoly when it comes to online ticket sales. I think that is mostly due to exclusive agreements they arrange with a good majority of the promoters they work with.
    @Colin: Where do you shop? Most business do NOT charge a separate convenience fee for their services. And if they do they have the good sense to wrap that dubious fee into the listed price of whatever they are selling so nobody knows about it. Because Ticketmaster is essentially a monopoly, boycotting doesn’t work very well – if at all.
    @MoneyBeagle: I think “racket” is a great term for these guys. Until a viable competitor is allowed to challenge Ticketmaster – especially for online sales – the racket will continue.
    @Wizardress: Actually, this blog DOES discuss politics over the weekend with my Black Coffee column. I’d probably have 33 percent more readers if I didn’t post them each week. LOL
    @Jennifer: Good for you! I wish I was so lucky.

  • Len, we may not agree on politics but I like Maroon 5 as well. But like Little House, I haven’t been to a concert in quite a while.

    I don’t understand businesses that charge you just for selling something. Isn’t it cheaper to sell something electronically than pay a person at a counter for in-person purchases?

    The additional fee to print your own tickets is just insult added to injury.

  • Very funny post!

    I also hate Ticketmaster. Unfortunately, there are not many alternatives, so we have no choice but to accept their cruddy fees.

    I find their fees less than convenient.

  • Colin,

    You’re wrong. Not all venues have a walk up to the window option. I know my local arena uses ticket master exclusively. The days of the ticket window are over.

    The real question is how do you break up the monopoly?

  • The only tickets we consistently buy are to the Transiberian Orchestra every year around the holidays – two tickets for $90 and $50 of fees…annoying as hell. This year I will be driving downtown to buy the tickets directly and I believe they waive most of the stupid crap…we’ll see…

  • Mariah

    I only buy tickets from scalpers now. Even with the scalper markup I figure I still end up paying less than Ticketmaster with all of their add on charges.

  • Maybe the solution is to have someone create a competitive ticket seller. Then they won’t be the “ticket masters” any longer and we can all be much happier with our reasonably priced tickets. After all, it costs much less to see a brilliantly acted play, and you don’t have to pay exhorbitant prices for food and souvenirs.

  • @Bucksome: It’s okay, Boomer. At least we can agree on what constitutes decent music! (Unlike some people I know. Greg.)
    @Everyday: I’m glad I could bring a smile to your face. I wasn’t smiling though after I left their site.
    @BIFS: The sad thing is, in this day and age, we shouldn’t have to go to those drastic measures. I hope you don’t have to drive too far.
    @Mariah: That’s a good one! I bet their is a grain of truth in that – especially if you wait until a couple hours before the concert starts.
    @GoBanking: Well said, Credit Girl. I haven’t seen a good musical in a long time. Maybe it’s time I do it again!

  • musicbrooklyn

    Hey Len, great article. I’m frustrated with ticketmaster as well. They recently screwed over fans all over europe with their coldplay ticket sale. I’m pretty sure they (employees) bought all the tickets before they went for sale. Ticketmaster is old and outdated, more people should use ticketometer and eventbrite or other services that are not run by people that have no idea where the industry is going.

  • ull like it.. if u hate ticketmaster :D The Walking Dead – Ticketmaster Apocalypse https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhCmqo9BAgE

  • The ticket fees are small issue compared to the resell scalping that is legitimized by Ticketmaster policies. Brokering firms have first access to the best tickets in every case and are reselling tickets through ticketmaster for as much as 100 times face value. Brokering companies are also selling the same ticket at no less than 4 times face value. stub hub, cheaptickets, and others don’t even own the tickets they are brokering. Ticketmaster also provides a direct link to these thieves (for your convenience). $5 service fees charged, even at the venue, are a pretty small issue. This needs to be public!

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