Triggered off in part by that XTC posting the other day featuring a photo of a concert ticket from 1979….here’s a re-post of a rant from August 2009, together with the various comments folk left behind…..
I’m guessing almost everyone who read this blog likes going along to see live music, in all its shapes and forms, whether it is unknown, unsigned bands in tiny sweaty venues or the weekend-long music festivals that dominate the summer months (or what passes for summer these years in the UK) and all points in between.
Sadly, there are certain companies we have to deal with when trying to get our hands on many of these valuable bits of paper that will gain us admission to the venue. Its changed entirely from my early concert going days in the late 70s and early 80s where you basically went along to the box office at the venue, handed over cash and got a ticket in return. The amount you handed handed over was the price on the ticket.
Nowadays, its usually over the internet or at a centralised booking office and it never reflects the price of the actual gig.
Music fans – and indeed fans wanting tickets for the theatre or sports events – have been getting robbed by these faceless tossers for years, and other than actually taking the drastic action of not going to the gigs at all, there’s very little we can do. If you google the word ‘Ticketbastard’ you’ll quickly get hours of horror stories to cast your eye over.
In the end, its not been an outrageous mark-up that’s got me pissed off, but instead something so small and insignificant that I almost didn’t notice. But when I thought of how many times this small difference would add up to a huge profit, I thought it worth mentioning.
Now, we all know that the ticket agencies levy their service charges somewhat in proportion to the price of the tickets. So, for a sports event later this year at £67.50 a ticket, the service charge is £6.08 per ticket, while a gig ticket at £18.50 gets hit with £2.25 service, and a £9 ticket gets £1.25 (interesting that the music levy is more than 10% of the face value while the sport ticket is marginally below it).
But….there is also a processing fee on top of this…..and it was the amount charged for the music gigs that annoyed me.
On 10th October 2009, I’m off with Mrs Villain to see Jonathan Richman at the Oran Mor in Glasgow, while exactly one month later, we’re off the see Airborne Toxic Event at the ABC in the same city. It was £18.50 per brief for the former, and £9 per brief for the latter, plus that service charges I mentioned in the previous paragraph. Both sets of tickets were ordered the same day, using the same credit card and over the same PC with the same email address. Both sets of tickets were posted out on the same day, and both arrived on the same day, in identical envelopes and with identical packing.
And yet…..the Jonathan Richman tickets cost 65 pence more to process.
Why? Anyone out there know the reason???
OK, its only 65p, but as I said earlier, add up all the 65 pences and you soon get a fair whack of money for fuck all. And there’s no logic….my Morrissey tickets earlier this year were a whacking £32.50 each, with £4.50 service charge on top. But the processing fee was less than that applied to the Jonathan Richman tix.
Feel free to use the comments section to vent your own frustration.
mp3 : Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers – Roadrunner (Twice)
mp3 : The Airborne Toxic Event – Does This Mean You’re Moving On?
I’ve a funny feeling this posting might just end up with a dmca notice….so I hope you’re onto this quickly swissadam. Thanks for asking for it yesterday:-
mp3 : Paul Haig – Ghost Rider
11 RESPONSES TO “EVERY MUSIC FAN’S BETE NOIRE?”
August 6, 2009 at 5:39 am
Indeed all those early morning hikes to the (Glasgow) Apollo to get in line back in the 70’s, I was invariably the first but at least I would get a ticket! we have the same shit out here in Australia and what exactly is all this money for…the recent gigs by I think it was The Police had the front seats auctioned off by the promoter, which is just scalping under a different name…I could go on…Regards/
August 6, 2009 at 7:54 am
When it’s people who do it as a small business (see Ripping Records in Edinburgh, for instance) I’m sympathetic for a couple of quid, but Ticketmaster are just ripping us off left, right and centre. Another of my rants wuold be tix going on sale at times that mean you can’t get there; it’s one thing skiving school if you are a student (that that I condone this) BUT if you work for living like most of us do, then you may not be able to access the internet site from work or spend a small fortune on your mobile trying to get through…GRRR!
August 6, 2009 at 8:24 am
A new development that really cheeses me off is that some venues/companies now ask you to print the tickets of yourself and charge you a fee still for the pleasure off wasting your own fucking ink. Unbelievable!
August 6, 2009 at 8:51 am
Ed, Like you, I have no problems with Ripping Records or other small shops in cities and towns who sell the tickets incl the booking fee. Its the big boys with their hidden and inconsistent charges that really get to me.
August 6, 2009 at 10:23 am
Thanks for the Paul Haig re-post. Agree completely about tickets- extortionate and booking fee system makes little sense. What pisses me off is tickets go on sale at say 9.00 am, 2 mins later all sold out, then re-appear on ticket selling websites, double price and upwards. When the Specials sold tickets for the Manchester Apollo gigs back in June standing tickets immediately jumped to £65, within minutes of them selling out.
August 6, 2009 at 1:19 pm
I have had my fair share of ticket problems (mainly to do with tickets selling out superhumanly fast and then reappearing for crazy prices on auction sites, or selling out because apparently everyone but me had some pre-sale code). And I agree that we are all being burned being slaves to the Ticketmaster. I miss the old days of lining up and first come, first serve. Thankfully, quite a few of the bands I see just aren’t popular enough to sell out quickly. I dread to think what would happen if I wanted to see David Bowie live again – I’m thinking I won’t get third row again.
August 6, 2009 at 2:53 pm
That’s one thing that really pisses me off about King Tut’s. If you want to get a ticket online, you need to go through Ticketmaster. A recent gig I’d planned on going to was only a fiver, by the time Ticketmaster added their booking fee and a bonus charge for me picking up the ticket at the bar, the price had nearly doubled. I’m off to see Beerjacket in Tut’s on Saturday and he is so pissed off at Ticketmaster – apparently he’ll see no money from any tickets sold through them – he’s been arranging to meet people and sell them tickets himself, for the proper price. That’s great for me, not a problem to go meet him and get some tickets, but sucks for both people who are buying online and then for him when he doesn’t even get their cash.As Coop said, the new trend for charging you an extra couple of quid to print the ticket yourself – and I’ve seen a few times where this has been the ONLY option – is another kick in the nuts.Booking fees really get my goat. And I don’t even have a goat!
a Tart Says:
August 7, 2009 at 1:48 am
I live literally less than 10 blocks from the venue where Yo La Tengo will play and I cannot get tickets other than by online via TicketBastard who will take a $23 dollar ticket and after all their fucking service charges and fees end up taking $38 off me! That’s FIFTEEN FUCKING dollars of FUCKING FEES!!!! I am literally screaming at my computer and my wife is looking at me rather horrified even after I’ve explained why. Yes, welcome to ‘merica, land of the free to rape you in every way we possibly can. /rantthank you sir, for the space, love as always, xoxo
August 7, 2009 at 6:17 am
I’m with Mona, here in Oz ticket prices are scandalous. I’m not sure if it’s because we’re so bloody far away from everywhere else and it costs more to get here, but if that’s the case then I object! That’s a geographical fee that is, and it’s not our fault we’re at the end of the bloody world! Rubbish.Example ticket cost: $83 AUS to see Sigur Ros at Festival Hall which is basically a big barn with plastic seats and old wooden floors. Hardly a palace. That reminds me of merchandise costs too – $45 for a shirt as well! The sad thing is that I write this and I’m still thinking to myself “yeah but it was worth it”. That’s how they get us in the end.
August 7, 2009 at 10:16 am
Indeed how do they justify these prices, upcoming Ry Cooder + Nick lowe @ Palais in Melb $140, that is 70 quid and that is before the extra’s. pearl Jam advertised as a value for money $99!!!Regards/
Ah Fong Says:
August 10, 2009 at 8:21 pm
whats with the same fee to pick up at the venue OR have them posted? and does anyone remember buying at the door with no booking fee? or am i just an auld bastart?do venues/promoters get cash from these companies, or does it just relieve them of the hassle(?!) of printing and selling themselves?ticketmaster are the ryanair of music.any chance of richmans ‘into the mystery’?