Customers Are Infuriated Over Ticketmaster's Dynamic Pricing System

Jennifer Farrington - Author
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Jul. 22 2022, Published 11:20 a.m. ET

Ticketmaster, one of the top ticket sales and distribution companies in the market, is getting heat from customers over the exorbitant prices it has set for some Bruce Springsteen concert tickets. While some fans were able to snag tickets starting at just $199, as the demand began to rise, so did the price per ticket. And you can thank Ticketmaster’s “dynamic pricing” system for that.

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Ticketmaster sometimes sells tickets using its dynamic pricing system.

Tickets sold via Ticketmaster are generally priced by face value or are “market-priced,” according to the company. Face value prices are determined by the client, which could be a venue or sports team, and the amount set is then remitted to the client after the ticket is sold. Ticketmaster, however, will collect certain fees from the sale, which might include service and order processing fees to name a few.

While tickets priced by face value usually carry the same price up until the event, there's a chance they can fluctuate. But, when it comes to market-priced tickets, this is when things can get a little scary for customers.

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According to Ticketmaster, market-priced tickets can adjust and are based on demand. So, the more interest an event gains, the higher the price of a ticket can go. The ticket seller also explained that these prices are “similar to how airline tickets and hotel rooms are sold,” and refers to this method of selling as “dynamic pricing.”

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Ticketmaster used its dynamic pricing system to price tickets for Bruce Springsteen’s upcoming tour.

On July 12, Bruce Springsteen announced via Twitter that tickets to his tour would be sold via Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan platform. While plenty grew eager for the day when tickets would go on sale (which began on July 20), the excitement quickly died down after tickets became available, but were priced astronomically high.

Twitter user @The_LadyLyd shared that a seat in “Section 300 can be $199 one minute and $699 the next.” While she did buy herself a ticket, she added that it cost her “a lot of $$$$.” Another Twitter user, @StevenL57 shared that while searching for seats during the presale, he found two floor seats priced at $5,000 each.

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Here’s what a few others had to say about Ticketmaster’s dynamic pricing system and how it affected the prices of Springsteen tour tickets.

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Why does Ticketmaster use a dynamic pricing system?

Ticketmaster’s dynamic pricing system is likely designed to help the distributor profit off the demand rather than allow a scalper to do so. Buying and reselling tickets to large events, particularly when the demand has peaked, allows the reseller to make a quick profit.

As a way to deter scalpers from earning a profit or earning less of a profit, Ticketmaster may use its dynamic pricing system to reap the benefits of high demand for an event before anyone else. Of course, scalpers will still be able to earn something off reselling a ticket if die-hard fans miss their opportunity to buy tickets and are willing to dish out the big bucks.

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