Ticketmaster tackles the subject of their fees, on their brand new blog.

There’s a new voice in the theatrical blogosphere.

And it has a market cap of over a billion buckaroos.

The recently merged Ticketmaster unveiled their own blog a couple of weeks ago, written by their very own CEO, “Nathan” (he signed the blog by his first name only).  Their first (and so far only) post begins with the sentence, “We get it – you don’t like service fees.”

Master-of-the-Nation (my pet name for the new company formed by the Ticketmaster/LiveNation merger) continues to explain that they are going to use their blog to help educate the consumer on the fact and fiction of e-commerce, how fees are going to be presented in the future, and why the fees are what they are (news flash: that billion dollar market cap has something to do with it).

While they’re a little late to the explanation party, I gotta give props for their desire to shed a little light on their world, and for the changes they are about to implement, which are a direct response to the comments they’ve heard from their consumers (they have frightening data demonstrating the drop-off-rate when a customers sees those fees).

But the line that made me fall in love was this . . .

This [new] user experience mirrors what you see across the web from leaders in their field – Amazon, Apple, Expedia, Zappos and more. It’s not complicated, it’s just the right thing to do.

We are the leader in the industry, and so we are accountable for taking the initiative to drive industry change. We take that responsibility very seriously, and at the new Ticketmaster we wake up every day obsessing over the fan experience. We think this change is a big step toward creating pricing transparency that is good for fans, and thus good for business.

Kudos, MotN.  I look forward to seeing how you will continue to think of the consumer first, and market cap second.

Now, the only other thing that Nathan has to learn right now is that a blog needs to be updated more than once every week.

Come on.  You’ve got googles of stuff to talk about.  Give us some regular content, already?

It’s not that hard.

To read the full Ticketmaster statement on their Ticketology blog, click here.

  • Michael Gross says:

    There’s nothing I hate more than seeing a show advertise tickets for $20 and then end up paying $32 when fees are said and done. It just makes me think that some way, some how, I can get those tickets for $20 and avoid that $12 surcharge. And if I can’t circumvent some of those charges, I feel like I’m getting ripped off. What exactly does a base ticket price cover? How does this money get divided among stakeholders? And what is covered by the fees that isn’t covered by the base ticket price? Educating consumers about the pricing is good, but I think ultimately the ticket price needs to be basically all inclusive of fees save for maybe shipping charges and the fee for purchasing online/phone versus box office. Or better yet, show the all inclusive price for everything, and then tell the consumers how they can get a “discount” by buying at the box office or by picking up their tickets at will-call. There’s such a mental component to purchasing tickets… so much is about framing the price.

  • Richard says:

    Michael is correct, of course, which is sad. How it’s structured should be irrelevant for the consumer. How much should the totality of what the consumer is getting should it cost the consumer?
    But consumers don’t think that way. Macy’s jacks up its prices 20% and then holds a one-day sale once a week. It’s an intelligence test that consumers fail every week.
    If the totality of what the consumer was buying wasn’t worth $32 when the fee was broken out, it shouldn’t be worth $32 when it’s bundled into the total. It’s just an illustration of how dumb consumers are.
    Credit card reform? Uh huh. Do you really think the banks are rolling over? Of course not. They’re jacking up interest rates and playing games such as having payment due dates at 1:30 am.
    Of course when everyone jumps on the bandwagon, the consumer won’t know how to price one experience against another so she won’t know when she’s getting ripped off, and she’ll have no one to blame…because she complained about unbundled pricing. I like unbundled pricing. I like to know what I’m getting and at what price.

  • I avoid Ticketmaster at ALL costs. I don’t remember the specific numbers, but I had a great discount code for the YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN tour. I was able to get orchestra seats for $35, but it was through Ticketmaster-only. For two tickets, I think I paid about $120 or so. That’s A LOT of fees.
    I’m heading to NYC next week. In addition to wanting to get in on the premium seats that open up for regular folk, the BIG reason I’m not ordering tickets in advance . . . I would rather save the money on the service fees and then buy fun theatre things in NYC. It all adds up. Unfortunately, it sinks the advanced sales the producers need.

  • CL Jahn says:

    Nathan mentioned other industries that also have additional fees. Ever buy tires? There’s a few fees involved, many of them mandated by the government. They can’t be bundled because the business is required to make sure the consumer can see that all these fees are being charged.
    As Nathan noted, even the venue adds fees. And many of those fees are charged to Ticketmaster customers, on top of Ticketmaster fees.
    Ticketmaster’s real dilemma is that their service is largely unnecessary in the 21st century. When they first came into the market, the consumer would have to deal directly with the venue to purchase their tickets. If they saw a lot of events, that meant calling a lot of different numbers, or hiking over to the box office to stand in line. For the venue, calls came in fits and starts; often, box office staff would sit around reading magazines for weeks, waiting for customers to arrive. Except when a hot show went on sale, and suddenly there weren’t enough tellers available to process the load.
    The internet has changed all that. We can go online, Google the show or the venue, and with a few clicks we have our tickets. Because we’ve eliminated the middleman, it’s a little cheaper. And it’s better for the venue, too; Ticketmaster is a pain in the ass for venues – they basically take over your box office, and often the venue doesn’t know which seats have been sold until patrons show up. And of course, the venue pays Ticketmaster, too.
    No, Ticketmaster won’t be with us much longer, or at least not as the monster it is.

  • Michael, your comment that “the ticket price needs to be basically all inclusive of fees” reminds me of our ongoing gripes with airlines these days: ticket price + pre-selecting seat charge + checking baggage charge + carry-on baggage charge (thanks, Spirit!) + etc etc etc. I agree that it’s much easier to swallow ONE (expensive) ticket price as opposed to ticket costs +charge after charge after charge. It’s all about the packaging of those (necessary) charges; we just need to figure out what works best.
    – Timothy Childs

  • Brian says:

    I can’t stand Ticketmaster because they make it so difficult to buy tickets online. Rather than showing you what seats are available, you have to pick your price range only to be told (after what seems like 6 pages and security verification codes) that they don’t have seats in that price range. Then back to the start!
    As much as I hate “brokers”, stubhub is so much better at showing you what inventory they have

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