Rage Against the Ticket Machine

Picture this: you’re flipping through the pages of the local paper and you see an ad for a concert of your favorite band. They’re performing at the Hollywood Bowl in a few weeks and you have to go. You go to Ticketmaster to get tickets. First, you search for tickets for you and a friend; lucky you, you found two great seats! The tickets were advertised at $30, and you’re excited to have found such a sweet deal.

Then as you type in your information and get to the final step before those glorious tickets are yours, you get visually assaulted by the sudden price change. “$11  CONVENIENCE FEE?? WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT ABOUT?!” This is the painful sting of Ticketmaster’s claws sinking into your leg; you can’t go back now, there is no way you’re going to miss that concert! So what do you do? You’re in a David-and-Goliath situation now, but there is no way you’re going to beat the ticket behemoth. So, you swallow your rage, letting it fester in your bowels to slowly give you an ulcer, and accept the ridiculous surcharges and fees to get your tickets.

This is a bitter pain felt by all who have tangled with the Ticketmaster beast. Whether you’re looking for tickets to a Lakers game or to the Monster Ball, you get stuck with Ticketmaster’s outrageous extra charges that can make a $30 ticket go for $50. Ticketmaster has been a thorn in the side of concertgoers and performers alike, with acts like Pearl Jam and Bruce Springsteen acting out against the company’s monopolistic practices.

Ticketmaster fees are generally a pain in the ass mainly because they can’t be avoided. The “convenience fees” they charge sting even more since there are no other realistic options for people to purchase tickets that Ticketmaster could supposedly be more convenient than. In the “good old days” you could go down to your local Tower Records, wait in line for a bit, and get your tickets on the spot, no extra fees piled on. Now, since most record stores have gone the way of the dodo bird, Ticketmaster is the only viable option for ticket purchasing; where’s the “convenience” in that?

When you add the convenience fees, service charges, building facility charges, processing charges, shipping charges, e-ticket convenience charges or will-call charges, you can get charges up to 50 percent of the original ticket price. Ticketmaster lacks the transparency to actually let people know what these fees are for and who gets paid. While there are other ticketing sites on the market today, Ticketmaster is by far the largest; it has the closest ties and connections to venues and promoters, and their power forces most other websites onto the margins of the ticketing game. All the big names and big games are through Ticketmaster, and they continue to price-gouge while the competition is being held down in their stranglehold.

So many factors play into the ticket fee game; venues, promoters and performers all get a piece of what you pay when you go through Ticketmaster, but when you’re suddenly paying an extra $13 for your $30 ticket, you don’t really care who gets what out of it.

These fees hit the fans the hardest. Going to a concert or a sporting event is a pricey outing already. You’ve got the ticket price, plus all the fees, the parking costs, and if you want to buy any merchandise while you’re there, prepare to empty out your wallet completely. The chance to see a band in concert is becoming more and more restricted to people with the most money to burn, who aren’t bothered by the extra $15 tacked onto their Vampire Weekend tickets. Teenagers and college students get screwed over the hardest, even while they are often the most hardcore, devoted fans. We’re forced to skip out on the chance to see Paul McCartney or Arcade Fire because we simply can’t afford it, and that is the biggest crime of Ticketmaster’s fees. Live music should be an experience everyone can afford to enjoy; concerts are filled with priceless moments, but getting there will cost you an arm and a leg.

The Ticketmaster giant lives on because they continually take advantage of customers who are so desperate to go see their favorite band or team that they are basically willing to sell their soul to do it.

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