Since then, Ticketmaster, which will handle most of the American shows on Mr. Springsteen’s tour next year, has tried to wear a white hat at least part of the time. Michael Rapinoe, CEO of Ticketmaster’s parent company Live Nation Entertainment, noted in an interview on “The Compound & Friends” podcast in May that many tickets to top concerts and other events now have higher street prices. Ticketmaster sold them. Why shouldn’t an artist keep most of that profit? Prices that are too low open the door for bidders to make more money than they make themselves — at the profit they make by selling at the true market price.
If artists want to hold that, Ticketmaster is ready to help and charge for it. And that seems to be what Mr. Springsteen is doing here, using Ticketmaster’s “Official Platinum” system, where seats “move up and down at variable prices based on demand.”
You already know what happened next: Those platinum prices were too expensive. Anger arose. A congressman from New Jersey yelled into the wind.
“It broke our spirits,” said Pete Maimon, a real estate agent in North Brunswick, N.J., who coordinates face-value-only ticket exchanges for longtime fans. He closed it for now, he said, fighting back tears. “We no longer wanted to engage in this plain-as-day scheme to extract money from fans,” he said.
Over the weekend, in an attempt to calm things down, Mr. Springsteen’s camp gave Ticketmaster permission to release some numbers. 1.3 percent of Ticketmaster users paid more than $1,000 per ticket. Also, 88.2 percent of tickets are “sold at value,” according to Ticketmaster, although the remaining 11.8 percent are likely to represent more than 11.8 percent of revenue per show at face value.
Who set these prices? “Promoters and artist representatives will set the pricing strategy and price range parameters for all tickets, including variable and fixed price points,” a Ticketmaster spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “If there are too many people with tickets who want to attend the event, the price goes up.”