Stwould you officially pay several thousand dollars to attend a concert of your favorite singer? In July, when Bruce Springsteen put tickets on sale for his upcoming US tour, many fans initially thought it was a bad joke. Or a bug in the servers of the Ticketmaster company, the world’s leading supplier of concert tickets. When the ticket office opened, some seats were exposed to… 5,500 dollars (5,280 euros), a price generally reserved for resale sites or the black market.
But he soon had to make a decision: these exorbitantly priced tickets weren’t suspicious. According to the laws of pricing sympathetically defined as “dynamic”, Ticketmaster, in perfect agreement with the producer of the show, increases the prices of some seats based on demand. The higher it is, the more the prices go up. Result, for a long-awaited tour like Bruce Springsteen’s, prices panic and reach records.
This system has long been applied to seats sold by airlines or railways, such as SNCF. It allows these companies to modulate their prices according to the influx and therefore, in theory, to better ensure that their trains or planes are filled. Even in sport, the big clubs organize the resale of tickets on their own and, here too, the more prestigious the matches, the more you have to put your wallet.
But the arrival of this dynamic pricing in the world of entertainment, and more particularly for the touring of an artist like Bruce Springsteen, known for being “close to the people” and for his usually relatively moderately priced concerts, has caused quite a stir across the Atlantic. Betrayal of his fans, scandalous system, greed … The “Boss” and his entourage had whistling ears and not for the feedback of the guitars.
Black market gangrene
A few days ago, Springsteen returned to the controversy in a long interview with the magazine RollingStone. Assume this inflation. “For the past forty-nine years, we have played below market prices. I loved it. It was good for the fans. Today I am 73 years old. I want to do what everyone does. This is what happened. Purchasing tickets has always been confusing, for both spectators and performers. Most importantly, most of our tickets are affordable. And then you have these tickets whose prices are going to go way up, way up. Either way, resale sites or someone else will take that money. So what I’m saying is why shouldn’t that money go to those who sweat on stage for three hours? »
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