Ticketmaster Service Fees Are A Rip Off

Why am I up at 1:40 am? I’m not entirely sure. It might be my horrible insomnia that seems to rear its very ugly head always around this time of year. It might be that it’s just too hot in my apartment (I do not have A/C).

the Dillinger Escape Plan

Dillinger Escape Plan at House of Blues. They are phenomenal live and worth the price of the ticket alone.

I groaned a few months ago when I saw that the Summer Slaughter tour this year was at House of Blues. I shouldn’t be surprised because most of the shows I’ve wanted to go to in the past few months have been held there. But man. Everything about HOB is a pain. Parking is annoying (I hate valet. I watched them move my car about 10 times, back and forth. Way to waste gas, bro.). There are no good food places nearby the venue, and even if there were, they usually don’t allow “in and outs.” The tickets are WAY more expensive than any of the other venues most of the time. The drinks are pricey, too (but that’s everywhere in Hollywood).

Because I flat out can’t afford to pay the Ticketmaster fees in the summer time,  I opted to wait until the day of the show to drive up to Sunset (about an hour drive from my house), and hope it didn’t sell out. Luckily it did not, and I was able to get in.  I remember being annoyed when  my friend remarked that I paid less for my ticket than she did when she purchased hers online a few days before. Even though I didn’t pay the “convenience” fees, the show ended up costing me a lot more than I felt I should be spending at a concert.

  • Ticket to summer slaughter: -$30 (super fair for getting to see a large number of bands in my opinion)
  • Valet Parking -$20 (normally I would NOT get valet but we were running so late and the risk of parking tickets in the area is 100%)
  • Dinner in between bands since it was a really long day -$16
  • Two jack and cokes, weakly poured: $18

$84 to see a metal show- of which I only really wanted to see 2-4 bands and missed the first one I really wanted to see because they were so spread apart.

I am appalled at how expensive it is to go see live music these days!  I truly feel bad for the kids that have to spend their own money on these shows.

When I was a teenager, I spent much of the money I made at my job going to concerts. It was about $10-12 to get into the smaller tours, sometimes even less. Bigger tours (arenas) were about the same as they are now ($75-100). I saved up for those bigger ones, or  tickets were given to me as gifts for major holidays or birthdays. Most of the time, I paid for my own concerts, and tickets were around $12. I would walk on over to the local record store (Strawberries, or Newbury Comics), and buy a ticket right there. Maybe they charged a service fee, but I don’t remember that.

Let me just say that I’ve been  blessed by being spoiled and allowed into literally hundreds of concerts for free in my adult life and I am so extremely thankful for that. They keep me sane. There’s no better high than hearing music you enjoy being made right before your eyes.

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A small sampling of concerts and shows I’ve been to in Los Angeles. I finally threw away most of my wrist bands, but kept some of the special ones.

In recent times, I’ve been going to see a lot more music where I do not know someone in the band, or someone attached to the band in some way, and I’ve had to *GASP* pay for  tickets and parking. I do NOT mind this at all. I am in full support of the musicians and industry folk who put forth a lot of work every day to make these concerts and tours available to me. I’m happy to pay for a ticket if it’s a band I really want to see. I’ve seen first hand the hours, weeks, months and even years of hard work that goes into everything, and to me, it’s not a big deal to pay for a concert ticket.

I just flat out do not understand how any company or venue can justify having their customers pay 20-50% of the face value of the ticket in fees. Who is making all of the money off of this?   How can people who frequent concerts afford to go to them!? I know I sure can’t anymore! I have skipped SO many concerts recently that I wanted to go to, just because of the Ticketmaster fees.  I have also missed many because I decided not to buy online and do not live near the venue, and then they sold out. I’m sure I’m not the only one with this problem.

I completely understand that credit card processing is expensive on the business side and the cost has to be passed to consumers somehow along the way. My own business flat out doesn’t offer it currently because we would lose money if we did. But we are teeny tiny. Ticketmaster isn’t. Neither is Ticketfly to my knowledge. And neither is House of Blues. House of Blues is the one that kills me every time because I know they are a gigantic company who could totally just implement their own ticketing system. Credit card processing (at least for small business) is a flat fee every month, plus a certain percentage of sales, which is usually 2-3%. From that standpoint, this whole 45% thing is a RIP OFF. I would have no problem going to TONS of concerts if the fees were reasonable, say 5% of the ticket price.  For the service fees they are charging right now, I could go to 3 more shows in the next month!! Or have a nice dinner.

Here’s just a sampling of the fees I’m going to be paying in the next month, for everything I want to go see (if it turns out I go to everything, which is unlikely at this point):

Wintersun/Arsis  @ House of Blues face value: $25 ticketmaster fees: $11 (yep 44% of the value)

The Acacia Strain @ the Observatory face value: $15 service fee: $5.13 (34% of the value)

Oh Land @ The Troub face value: $18 ticketfly fee $4.95 (27% of the value)

NIN at the Staples Center face value for possibly obstructed view seat since i waited and didn’t buy them early: $75.50 ticket system fee: $16 (21% of the value)

Gwar @ the Observatory face value: $18 service fee: $5.20 (29% of the value)

Between the Buried & Me @ the Observatory face value: $20 service fee: $5.75 (29% of the value)

Between the Buried & me @ HOB on Sunset face value: $20 ticketmaster service fee: $9 (45% of the price of the ticket)

In the next month and a half, I will be spending approximately $191.50 on shows, and  $57.03 on service fees.  $248.03 for the shows total.

I’ll just assume that I’ll buy myself two drinks per show (minus the NIN show, because I know they’ll just be way too expensive for me there):  $108

parking for venues in Hollywood: $60

 

That comes out to $416.03, give or take a little bit.  That is about 9 hours of work for me.  Damn this is an expensive addiction. Good thing it’s my only one.

 

So anyway. I did a little scouting just now, and while it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what these fees are going towards because the contracts between Ticketmaster and

 

 

Dear whomever is in charge over at Ticketmaster: I hate your guts.

 

 

 

 

 

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