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Ticket Fees: A History

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

tickets (planetschwa/flickr)

The summer concert season is in full swing -- and so are those ticket service fees. We hear about the history of those fees from Josh Baron, who co-authored the book "Ticket Masters: The Rise of the Concert Industry and How the Public Got Scalped" with Dean Budnick.

Weigh in: Have you bought a concert ticket recently -- and paid service fees? Tell us what you're going to see and how much you're paying. Leave a comment.

Comments [22]

NJmuddy from Bowels of NJ

How 'bout a "Fee processing fee"? Sadly, thanks to our laws and structure of our economy, they can do what they like...competition and all. I'll say this: I don't see many artists eschewing this option (not sure that they can).

Nov. 27 2011 08:31 AM
pjbeee from NY'er in Ridgewood NJ

Sorry to say this, coz I don't like exorbitant fees/ticket prices either, but:

As long as there are people willing to pay that much (whatever "that much" is), the prices will be "that high".

And so my fellow ticket buyers: Don't buy 'em if you are disgusted. When making these decisions, I try to settle beforehand on how much I'm willing to pay for a particular event, and don't pay more than that. I don't see all the stuff I'd like, but that's just the way it goes.

:: sigh :: ...Life in the Food Chain...

Jun. 16 2011 05:11 PM

I've stopped going to (big) concerts due to ticket prices and fees

Jun. 16 2011 02:03 PM
Queenie from UES from NYC

We used to be able to select our on-line tickets from available seat(s) on a seating chart. Now when we place our search, we're given one choice and one choice only. Why is that? The only way now to see a list of available seats is at the box office. Frustrating...

Jun. 15 2011 02:41 PM
Angie from Bronx, NY

Years back I purchased tickets to Westbury Music Fair and was charged a parking fee in spite of the fact I was traveling to the venue by LIRR.

I feel ripped off when I'm charged a service fee just to pick up the tickets at the boxoffice.

Jun. 15 2011 02:39 PM
supertrouper from brooklyn

recently tried to get alicia keys tickets. Ticketmaster showed tons of them available but when i went to purchase through the site, i got the message that no tickets were available.

basically all the tickets were sold by the 1000's to secondary sources who trippled the price.

my hope is to find one on craigslist a few days before the show, from someone who cant go for some reason and who's willing to sell them at face value.

this whole system really stinks. back in the 90's the average cost for a ticket to GREAT shows was 30 bucks including service fees. i actually used to pride myself on my collection of ticket stubs...

now it's rather ridiculous...

Jun. 15 2011 02:37 PM
Chris from Bronx, NY

Buying Yankee tickets on line is the worst rip off!!! It seems you spend nearly $20.00 extra in fees and shipping PER ORDER. You only need ONE stamp to mail two tix!!!

Jun. 15 2011 02:34 PM
JLab from Bridgeport

The problem is when in the secondary market you find more than 50% of tix. So, the question is half of the people decide to re-sell their tix or the secondary market tix seller are in "bed" with the concert organizers?

Jun. 15 2011 02:33 PM
frank from Newark

I still have my old tickets stubs from the 70's, most are from $6 to $12..Pink Floyd $6 at Roosevelt stadium in Jersey City 1975.

Jun. 15 2011 02:33 PM
Robots Need to Party

Why would anyone want to give these artists any more money than they already have?

Jun. 15 2011 02:31 PM
Troy from NYC

Who are these people that will pay hundreds/thousands of dollars to see a concert?

Jun. 15 2011 02:29 PM
MG from Manhattan

U2 are the same - if you want to have half a chance of getting tickets to their shows, you have to for over $50 to join their fan club.

I love the band, have done for years, but I REALLY resent this. How much money do they need anyway? Most of them are tax exiles and they all must have more money than God at this point.

Jun. 15 2011 02:28 PM

We actually sort of had an opposite experience recently...sort of—While attending a Thao + Mirah show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg last week, Thao took the time to tell us that a portion of our ticket sales had gone to support a local non-profit, something they evidently do with each of their shows. That's the kind of 'fee' I can get behind.

Jun. 15 2011 02:23 PM

Rid the resale people by a law stating the resale cannot be any higher than the face value.

Jun. 15 2011 02:23 PM
Heidi f from Queens

Neil Young, recently at Avery Fisher Hall, fee was $47 on top of tkt price. AND, you couldn't see where you were sitting, only knew you were in a particular section. Tkts came shortly before concert, so much time waiting to see seats. Entire 2 tkts price was approximately $500.

Jun. 15 2011 02:22 PM
MP from Brooklyn

JT - McCartney is and always has been a corporate whore - a very talented whore, but a whore nonetheless.

Jun. 15 2011 02:21 PM
Tanner from Brooklyn

StubHub has become the bane of my existence as a music fan in the city. I read somewhere that artists are putting in tour contracts that a certain number of tickets be allocated for StubHub and others, where they can get a larger portion of the sales. What can fans do to stop this nonsense?

Jun. 15 2011 02:20 PM
MP from Brooklyn

I remember in the late 70s/early 80s when ticket prices first started creeping up over the $20 mark - people were outraged.

Jun. 15 2011 02:20 PM

Here you go:

Jun. 15 2011 02:19 PM

Why does McCartney charge so much for the base ticket price to begin with? He's a multi-millionaire many times over and has no dancers or pyrotechnics to drive up the price of the show. A lot of bands are just as greedy as the labels and care about the fans about as much.

Jun. 15 2011 02:17 PM

Urban Dictionary calls these charges "Screw You Tax" (except they don't call it that). It's defined as:
A non-discretionary charge or fee placed on orders or purchases from certain companies, frequently ticket retailers and cinemas. The charge never relates to a specific cost incurred by the company and is purely an additional fee to boost profits.

Jun. 15 2011 02:13 PM
Katie from NYC


I went to buy a ticket for Adele recently and the cheapest ticket was $500 - what gives. That was the most expensive ticket I'd seen in a long time.

Jun. 15 2011 02:12 PM

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