Ticket pricing is killing concert culture

By Jacob Rodriguez, May 7, 2024

I attended a Harry Styles concert with my cousin back in 2018, when concert prices were still relatively fair. For the view at the show, it was only a $100 per ticket.

Through listening to others and social media, I’ve come to learn that attending concerts has become more of a luxury.

The price of tickets has increased over the past decade, making it even harder to attend or buy tickets to events, especially with added-on fees.

Ticketmaster, a ticketing website owned by Live Nation, provides a breakdown of how fees and ticket prices are commonly divided, stating that the majority of the fees are dependent on the artist/promoter.

Many people buying tickets for an event may dismiss the four hidden fees that must be paid in addition to the standard ticket price: service fees, order processing fees, delivery fees and facility charges.

Ticket scalpers are commonly the scapegoat for why obtaining tickets are difficult. However, the common enemy should be the organizers themselves.

Ticketmaster and other sites alike introduced what is often dubbed as dynamic pricing, which USA Today states the practice began in 2011 to help more fans be guaranteed tickets.

Dynamic pricing is based on the demand of the artist or show. Ticketing sites can increase the price of the tickets to capitalize on the fan’s experience and to try limiting scalpers from getting tickets. This hinders fans from getting tickets as the prices can jump from face value to over hundreds of dollars more.

These prices have angered fans who claim that they ruin the experience of attending a concert.

HYBE, a South Korean entertainment company most known for being the home of global K-pop group BTS, has recently been at the center of controversy over its usage of dynamic pricing. The average ticket price in Korea is equivalent to around $223.16 USD, while in the U.S., the price jumped to $750.54 USD (excluding fees).

Fans of the group have trended hashtags on X- formerly known as Twitter- such as #SayNoToDynamicPricing and #NoDynamicPricing, pleading with the company to eliminate the usage for shows outside of South Korea. Many American fans expressed their disappointment by posting screenshots of the huge jump in prices compared to a ticket in South Korea.

Dynamic pricing has also angered the likes of Taylor Swift fans, especially when The Eras Tour tickets had been released.

According to NPR, more than two dozen Taylor Swift fans filed a lawsuit against Ticketmaster and Live Nation in 2022, claiming that the platform had created a monopoly and violated antitrust laws. The lawsuit was dropped in December 2023. Fans are still calling for the removal of this anti-fan practice.

The Department of Justice revealed that it’s preparing to file federal antitrust laws against Live Nation, claiming that it has engaged in anticompetitive practices.

The lawsuit has not yet been fully filed.

It’s a shame that enjoying live music is being jeopardized by ticket price inflation and that Ticketmaster has no plans to stop the increase.These practices make it seem that you’re only a true fan if you can afford the absurd prices set by the companies selling them.

Why should a ticket that originally costs $120 at face value suddenly skyrocket to $380, excluding the added-on fees? Why abuse the fan-artist relationship to please these capitalistic practices?

Feature image courtesy of Nicole Miyoshi

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