Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Think before you fume about the price of tickets for gigs

Despite a recent court case ruling in Baltimore about high ticket fees, giving out yards about Ticketmaster’s antics may be misplaced

Fri, Feb 1, 2013, 09:45


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.

Jackson Browne sings a $64 song

This week, the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that a 1948 city ordinace 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 advertised price includes these charges.

This, though, may not suit all parties. As thing stands, Ticketmaster are 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.