Bruce Springsteen fans were shocked by the ticket prices for 223 U.S. arena tour concerts. Springsteen and E Street Band are famous for throwing spectacular shows for the crowd, but some fans still weren’t ready to buy the tickets that cost over $4,000. The good news is that 88% of all fans were able to purchase tickets at face value. The ticket prices ranged from $40 to $399 before service fees, with the average ticket costing $202, but fans were still outraged over a guy who many called a “two hit wonder.”
Ticketmaster’s “dynamic pricing” mechanism, which alters the price in real-time based on demand, is what caused the price of certain floor seats to rise to more than $4,000. According to the Ticketmaster website, dynamic pricing, also known as “platinum seats,” enables supply-and-demand pricing (adjusting prices according to supply and demand) for live event tickets, similar to how airline tickets and hotel rooms are sold.”
“I assume when Bruce shouts ‘Is anybody alive out there?’ on the next tour, it will be more of a check-in on those who had to sell a kidney to be able to afford tickets,” one fan joked on Twitter. “(Springsteen) we love you, but Ticketmaster is just scalping true fans!” another tweeted.
Only 1.3 percent of tickets for all events, according to Ticketmaster, were sold for more than $1,000, while 11.8 percent of Springsteen tickets were labeled platinum. More than half of the tickets were sold for under $200. 18% cost less than $99, the price ranged from $100 and $150 for 27% of tickets, and the price was between $150 and $200 for 11% of all tickets.
The Springsteen ticket costs are normal for similar acts in the business. Dynamic pricing was implemented on Paul McCartney’s most recent Got Back and Harry Styles tours when tickets cost thousands of dollars, Ticketmaster claims. Springsteen and the E Street Band’s spokesperson declined to comment, and Ticketmaster kept explaining that the prices are in accordance with industry standards for popular performers.
This is the first time that Springsteen tickets went out of line. The 2016 and 2017 E Street Band Tous were priced below the industry average, ranging from $68 to $150. “I kind of wish he put a cap on it, or said, ‘I’m not comfortable with doing that,” says Brandon Thompson, an editor of It All Night Springsteen blog. “The dynamic pricing has gotten a little out of control with how demand is going.”
New Jersey’s U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell, who has previously proposed legislation on the subject, demanded that Ticketmaster modify its practices. “When Yogi Berra said it’s déjà vu all over again, he could have easily been talking about Ticketmaster and another unwelcome surprise for Springsteen fans,” said Pascrell. “After the long hiatus, we are all excited that Bruce is going back (on) tour. But Americans have the right to enjoy some live entertainment without getting ripped off. Ticketmaster sees popular events as an opportunity to soak regular Americans. My colleagues and I are hearing from irate customers who are fed up.”
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The BOSS Act, also known as “Better Oversight of Secondary Sales and Accountability in Concert Ticketing,” was first proposed by Pascrell in 2009. The act hasn’t passed.