Think be­fore you fume about the price of tick­ets for gigs

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC -

If you were to poll mu­sic fans to­mor­row about likes and dis­likes, you could be fairly sure that Tick­etmaster would fea­ture in the neg­a­tive col­umn.

Peo­ple al­ways give out – of­ten jus­ti­fi­ably – about the price of tick­ets for live shows. Add the Tick­etmaster gravy to the ad­ver­tised price and you have the grounds for wide­spread fum­ing.

Chalk one up then to An­dre Bour­geois. The Baltimore dude went to see Jack­son Browne back in 2009 and was irked at paying an ex­tra $12 in Tick­etmaster charges on top of the $52 ticket. In­stead of moan­ing on Twit­ter about it, Bour­geois filed a law­suit about how th­ese charges dis­guised the real price of the ticket.

This week, the Mary­land Court of Ap­peals ruled that a 1948 city or­di­nance ban­ning the sale of tick­ets ap­plied in this case. This im­plies that ser­vice fees charged by Tick­etmaster amounted to scalp­ing or tout­ing.

There may be re­funds to come for Charm City mu­sic fans stung by the tick­ets gi­ant if the next stage in the le­gal process up­holds that de­ci­sion.

But the le­gal to-ing and fro-ing may also fi­nally see a move by Tick­etmaster and the live in­dus­try to all-in ticket pric­ing, where the ad­ver- tised price in­cludes th­ese charges.

This, though, may not suit all par­ties. As things stand, Tick­etmaster make a handy whip­ping boy for pro­mot­ers and acts when mu­sic fans start crib­bing about high ticket prices. “Not our de­part­ment, bud, that’s them Tick­etmaster bol­loxes for you”.

But the truth is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent. Tick­etmaster’s close ties with Live Na­tion brings the pro­moter into the blame game, while the agency’s charges are based on the orig­i­nal ticket price – which is where the act comes in. We can point the fin­ger all we want at Tick­etmaster, but it’s worth remembering that they’re not the only ones caught up in this par­tic­u­lar pickle.

Jack­son Browne

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