The decade's most triggering comedy
He’s supposed to be the bard of the working man, but tickets to Bruce Springsteen‘s legendary shows are selling for as much as $5,000 apiece under a “dynamic pricing” system that has fans cursing “The Boss.”
Ticketmaster has used the same method to wring top dollars from fans of Drake, Paul McCartney, Harry Styles, and Taylor Swift, too. The idea is that prices rise and fall based on what they would fetch on the scalper market. So if a reseller can get $5,000 for a great seat on Springsteen’s upcoming tour, Ticketmaster will simply undercut the secondary market.
“Simple rule: if you’re the kind of person who is in a Bruce Springsteen song, you absolutely can’t afford to see him perform,” tweeted user Heywood Floyd.
This is all going to blow up. @Ticketmaster say this is to prevent scalping. IT IS OFFICIAL SCALPING.
— WMD (@rain_again) July 20, 2022
Tickets for Springsteen and his E-Street Band’s 2023 tour went on sale Wednesday, and Ticketmaster quickly labeled many floor and lower-level seats as “Official Platinum Seats.” That “enables market-based pricing (adjusting prices according to supply and demand) for live event tickets, similar to how airline tickets and hotel rooms are sold,” according to Ticketmaster’s website.
Prices for mid-floor tickets quickly climbed to as much as $5,000 apiece, with “cheap seats” bringing in as much as $1,000.
For fans of the New Jersey rocker, who built his brand on immortalizing the downtrodden and working class in classics like “Jungleland” and “Born to Run,” charging the price of a used pickup truck for a pair of tickets is sacrilege.
“Springsteen and Ticketmaster playing fans for fools,” tweeted Ryan Panton. “They see the outrage from ‘platinum tickets’ and rebrand them all as ‘verified resale.’ The joke continues.”
But E-Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt told fans not to blame “The Boss” for a pricing scheme that is out of his control.
“I have nothing whatsoever to do with the price of tickets,” Van Zandt tweeted at a fan who complained about the exorbitant prices. “Nothing. Nada. Niente. Bubkis.”
New Wave band Crowded House has forbidden promoters of its concerts from using the system, and Kid Rock, who keeps his ticket prices at $20, has also railed against Ticketmaster.
Rockers Pearl Jam took a stand against Ticketmaster years ago, accusing the promoter of creating a monopoly by buying up competitors and then charging outrageous prices. But earlier this year, the band employed dynamic pricing for its current tour. It only works when the tickets are digital and non-transferable, but New York and Colorado have consumer protection laws that require consumer choice in ticket format.