Ticketmaster Apologizes To The Boss
February 9, 2009 at 4:59 AM (PT)
After raising the public ire of BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN and after more than 1,000 complaints to the NEW JERSEY Attorney General's office, TICKETMASTER quickly offered a public apology to the BOSS and his fans. TICKETMASTER is being accused of purposely steering SPRINGSTEEN fans to its own scalping agency TICKETSNOW, which would then sell the allegedly "sold out" tickets anywhere from five to 10 times their face value.
Last week, in an open letter to his fans, SPRINGSTEEN wrote on his website: "Last MONDAY, we were informed that TICKETMASTER was redirecting your log-in requests for tickets at face value, to their secondary site TICKETSNOW, which specializes in up-selling tickets at above face value. They did this even when other seats remained available at face value ... We condemn this practice ... We perceive this as a conflict of interest."
Ticketmaster was redirecting your requests for tickets at face value to their secondary site ... which specializes in up-selling tickets at above face value. They did this even when other seats remained available at face value ... We condemn this practice
What's more, YAHOO reports that NEW JERSEY Attorney General ANNE MILGRAM has contacted TICKETMASTER about its sales practices because the re-direction tactic may violate state law. The HARTFORD COURANT reports that CONNECTICUT Attorney General RICHARD BLUMENTHAL is doing the same thing.
To put out the growing fire, not to mention the potential detrimental impact, at least perceptually, this would have on the reported TICKETASTER-LIVE NATION merger (NET NEWS, 2/4),TICKETMASTER offered up the following:
An Open Letter of Apology to BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, JON LANDAU and the entire SPRINGSTEEN Tour Team:
While we were genuinely trying to do the right thing for fans in providing more choices when the tickets they requested from the primary on-sale were not available, we clearly missed the mark. Fans are confused and angry, which is the opposite of what we hoped to accomplish. We sincerely apologize to BRUCE, his organization and, above all, his fans.
We recognize that we need to change our course. We have committed to BRUCE and state publicly here that we have taken down all links for BRUCE's shows directing fans from TICKETMASTER to TICKETSNOW. This redirection only occurred as a choice when we could not satisfy fans' specific search request for primary ticket inventory, but to make sure there is no misunderstanding in the future, we also publicly state that we will never again link to TICKETSNOW in a manner that can possibly create any confusion during a high-demand on-sale. Specifically, we will not present an option to go to TICKETSNOW from TICKETMASTER without the consent of the artist and the venue, both of whom work together to bring the joy of live entertainment to millions of fans.
If any fans inadvertently purchased tickets in the resale marketplace believing in error they were purchasing from the initial on-sale, we will refund the difference between the actual purchase price and the face price of the ticket. (Please don't abuse this good faith gesture -- we did not give brokers any preferential access to tickets.)
We are committed to helping deliver the most transparent and best live entertainment experience to fans. We will do better going forward.
IRVING AZOFF, CEO, TICKETMASTER ENTERTAINMENT
It remains to be seen whether this public apology and change of business practice will be enough to completely quell the uproar. TICKETNOW claims to "provide secure and convenient access to event tickets that are supplied by professional resellers and fans." However, using a recent GRATEFUL DEAD ticket sale and resale as an example, POPMATTERS.COM noted that "the show sold out in just over a half-hour, and soon after that, dozens of these ($55-$100) tickets were now being sold legally for $500 to $1,000. Just to be clear, these resold tickets were being offered up only minutes after the show sold out."
Which prompts the following questions: "Do you really believe that all of these people just happened to suddenly decide that they couldn't go to the show, moments after they happened to buy those tickets? Or, do you think that they purposely bought them, knowing how sought-after those tix would be and that they could then resell them for a very large profit?"