Artists & Musicians Set to Receive Bigger Royalties
Streaming platforms have been a source of contention for some time, but this week the royalty rate that artists receive has been increased
After another backlash from fans about Ticketmaster's pricing structure, the ticketing platform have issued refunds to fans of the Cure.
Ticketmaster, the world's largest ticketing company, has agreed to refund some of its fees to fans buying tickets for the Cure's US tour, following complaints from fans and frontman Robert Smith. Many fans had taken to social media to express their anger over the ticketing giant's "unduly high" fees, which were in some cases higher than the price of a ticket.
Ticketmaster's fees have been a subject of controversy for years. Fans often complain about the additional charges and fees they have to pay on top of the ticket price, which can add up to a significant amount. In some cases, these fees can be higher than the cost of the actual ticket, making it difficult for some fans to afford to attend live events.
Robert Smith, the frontman of The Cure, was among the many artists who took issue with Ticketmaster's fees. Smith expressed his concern and promised to contact Ticketmaster to seek an explanation. He tweeted to fans, "I have been asking how they are justified. If I get anything coherent by way of an answer, I will let you all know."
Smith had purposely kept the tickets affordable, with some as low as $20. However, fans shared screenshots of Ticketmaster shopping baskets with varying fees across different venues. One image showed combined fees that exceeded the cost of a $20 ticket – each subject to a service fee of $11.65 and a facility charge of $10, plus an overall order processing fee of $5.50.
After Robert Smith's tweet, Ticketmaster issued a statement agreeing that some of the fees being charged were unduly high. As a gesture of goodwill, the company agreed to offer a refund of $10 per ticket for the cheapest tickets and $5 per ticket for more expensive tickets. Refunds will be automatic for anyone who has already bought a ticket, while future ticket sales will incur lower fees.
Ticketmaster levied the fees as part of its Verified Fan programme, designed to prevent tickets being sold to touts and bots for resale. The programme is intended to give fans a better chance of buying tickets at face value. To participate in the programme, fans need to register in advance and are then given a code that they can use to access tickets before they go on general sale.
The Cure had chosen to use Ticketmaster in order to combat scalping but had declined to participate in the company's dynamic pricing and Platinum ticket schemes. These programmes have seen individual tickets end up selling for thousands of dollars.
Musicians such as Bruce Springsteen and Taylor Swift have used the dynamic pricing system, which adjusts ticket prices in real time based on demand.
The backlash to the Cure’s ticket fees is the latest example of Ticketmaster's sales model provoking anger. In November, it cancelled the general sale for tickets for Swift's Eras tour because demand for the verified fan sale had left "insufficient remaining ticket inventory". Swift described the situation as "excruciating", while the US congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called for a break-up of Ticketmaster and Live Nation, which merged in 2010, calling it a "monopoly".
In January, the US Senate held a hearing about the company to hear testimony about ticket sales, monopolisation, resale markets, and Ticketmaster's influence on the live music industry. The company has faced criticism for its high fees, its relationships with scalpers, and its ownership of venues, which critics say gives it an unfair advantage in the industry.
As the music industry evolves, the way in which artists and fans buy and sell tickets must evolve as well. While there are already some alternatives to Ticketmaster, none have been able to completely dominate the market in the same way as Ticketmaster.
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The recent controversy over Ticketmaster's fees for The Cure's US tour highlights a broader issue with the ticketing industry. Fans are tired of feeling ripped off and frustrated by opaque pricing and limited access to tickets. While Ticketmaster has taken steps to address this issue by offering refunds, it's clear that more needs to be done to create a fair and transparent ticketing system.
As the music industry continues to evolve, it's important that the way in which artists and fans buy and sell tickets evolves as well. It's clear that the status quo is no longer acceptable.
If you're an event organiser and want to know more about how we're changing the ticketing industry for good using NFT and Web3 technology, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll be happy to discuss how we can help you harness the power of this new technology.
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