Owens OutComm Student Media

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Owens OutComm Student Media

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Ticketmaster

The Arch Nemesis of Every Concertgoer

Frequent concertgoers and designated ticket buyers like myself know the struggles that come with using Ticketmaster all too well. Fans of multiple artists who announce tours often use this company to purchase tickets throughout the year. I have found myself part of this purchasing group of concertgoers.

Last year, I attended four concerts. I used Ticketmaster to purchase my tickets and was disappointed every time.

But, what did I do about it? Nothing. I simply hit “Check Out” and went about my day.

Finally, after so many poor experiences with Ticketmaster, I felt that it was time to look over the parts of the website and sales app that can be improved to make it user friendly for purchasing tickets.   

A major problem with Ticketmaster is the rate at which seats become unavailable to select during presale and general sale. Fans wait at a computer screen or with their mobile device for half an hour or more to get placed into the waiting room. The Ticketmaster  website recommends that buyers get into the waiting room ten minutes before the sale starts.

An improvement to the Ticketmaster website would be to include a real-time tally of ticket sales that shows which seats are available to purchase. After waiting in the queue, which can last for hours as we saw with the recent Taylor Swift “Eras Tour” ticket sales, many of the seating sections show no availability. I had this happen to me as I attempted to purchase presale tickets for the 2022 “5 Seconds of Summer” tour. I got into the queue relatively quickly with 200-300 people ahead of me, but when I went to select general admission and pit seats, or any seats in the  sections nearby, they were already sold out. When this has occurred during previous presale ticket sales in which I participated, I would navigate back to the general sale page and search again for available seats in my preferred sections. Previously unavailable seats will appear available as the demand recedes. When the true cost of the ticket becomes apparent, concertgoers consider more affordable seats or cancel their selection and the system updates.  

Another problem that I  encountered with Ticketmaster is what is sold as “Official Platinum” tickets, promoted by the ticket service as the best seats in the house. From someone who foolishly bought Official Platinum tickets at a price double the cost of a seat one or two over, the extra cost is not worth the price.  The same seat that I purchased as Official Platinum at a higher cost was no different than the seat at the same venue for a different show but sold as a regular seat at a much lower price.

And speaking of Ticketmaster’s high prices, the steep resale value that ticket scalpers can sell a ticker for is outrageous. I realize that the price asked by a reseller for their tickets is not decided by Ticketmaster, but there definitely should be a limit on how much higher than face value someone can resell a ticket. I believe resale should not be taken away completely as there are valid reasons someone may need to sell their ticket. However, resale should be better regulated.   

Finally, the biggest negative about Ticketmaster is the service fees that no one can escape. Many people have reported being charged service fees up to 50%. When I purchased my “5 Seconds of Summer” tickets, the original price was $79.95 per ticket. After service fees, I spent $100 a piece, a 25% up charge.

When I purchased tickets to see Charlie Puth, I chose some of the best seats in the venue. After the service charge I wanted to purchase insurance for the tickets. Again, that added to the cost. Some of us have tight budgets and want to know the final amount before we commit to the transaction, that way you can deselect high-priced seats for those that fit within your budget. But, without seeing the true cost until checkout, it is difficult to choose affordable seats. Madison Square Garden, as well as other large venues, have adopted showing all charges and fees before you get to the checkout phase of the online transaction. This should be a sitewide mandate for Ticketmaster and would prevent young concert goers from worrying about surprise fees at checkout.   

Ticketmaster has a lot of improving to do with their website and sales app. The issues that I share have been brought up by fans on social media sites, and recently in the news as it relates to service fees. My Ticketmaster experience, and that of many other concert goers, makes us want to use a different ticket buying site.

If you plan to buy tickets to a concert, skip Ticketmaster, instead, let me recommend alternatives StubHub or SeatGeek. 

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