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Harry Styles Fans Left Upset Over Dynamic Pricing

Dynamic pricing has caused fans to be left infuriated at the price of tickets recently, and Harry Styles' tour is the latest to hit the headlines.

Tim Bishop
Tim Bishop
September 7, 2022
min read
Harry Styles on stageHarry Styles on stage

An NFT event ticketing marketplace helping artists foster closer connections with fans, eliminating fraud and reducing the impact of scalping.

Working in the live events industry, we've seen a remarkable evolution in many areas. As technology has evolved, so have events and the infrastructure around them. With this evolution, shows have become bigger and better than ever, and entry more seamless. Thanks to social media, there's even a genuine buzz of collective anticipation pre-show like never before.

However, there remains an area of live events that is yet to catch up with the evolution expressed elsewhere in the industry. The headlines are familiar, and the fan outrage is consistent; you guessed it, it's ticketing.

This time, it's former One Direction member Harry Styles, whose latest show has hit the headlines long before he's even arrived at the venue.

Dynamic Pricing

Like the "Surge" system employed by Uber during busy periods, dynamic pricing is a model that sets the price of tickets based on the level of demand.

While supply and demand is nothing new, this is not the first time that the dynamic pricing system used by Ticketmaster (the platform selling tickets for Styles' latest show) has caused a backlash from fans. In late July 2022, fans were left stunned by the price of tickets to Bruce Springsteen's latest tour, some of which were selling for around $5000. Similarly, dynamic pricing has also caused a storm for Taylor Swift and Drake, leading to familiar stories of fan backlash.

While we've yet to see prices for Harry Styles' Love on Tour reach the lofty heights of the Springsteen tour, fans have been left more out of pocket than they expected at the checkout, thanks to dynamic pricing.

Static Discontent

One of the main reasons that dynamic pricing consistently causes such discontent is that the price of the tickets changes even during the checkout process. While we haven't experienced it ourselves, this is the claim of one unlucky fan who discovered she had accidentally spent £697 on two tickets to see Harry Styles.

The fan in question had only expected to pay £155 per ticket, which she claims is the price option she clicked on before checking out. However, when checking the confirmation of her purchase, she discovered she had been charged more than double what she expected.

Of course, Ticketmaster argues that "the biggest factor that drives event pricing is supply and demand", but it's easy to see how live pricing, even during the checkout procedure, might cause confusion.

Ironically, the dynamic pricing used by Ticketmaster is designed to help fans (as well as maximise profits). The theory is that if ticket demand is high, and so is the price, scalpers will be unable to buy tickets to sell for a profit.

Scalping in the ticketing industry remains a huge problem, and we welcome all attempts to combat it legitimately. However, more often than not, it's loyal fans that are left bitter. They end up either being priced out of the market entirely or, as in this case, surprised by a bill far exceeding what they expected to pay.

Is There a Solution?

We've covered fan dissatisfaction with the ticketing industry on several occasions in the past. It's one of the main issues we are addressing using Web3 technology and our NFT ticketing platform.

Royalty splits and price ceilings can be applied to NFT tickets using smart contracts and offer a way of beating the scalpers without negatively impacting the experience for true fans.

With live events more popular than ever, event ticketing must evolve in line with the rest of the industry.

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