TicketMaster, Our Dickish Overlord

Radiohead is coming to Tampa
in a couple of weeks to the Ford Amphitheatre, known for its poor sound issues ("hey let's build a roof shaped like three band shells but put a lip at the ends so the sound reflects to hell"). I went on TicketMaster to buy the lowest cost ticket ($32.50) because I figure I don't really need to pay $55.00 to smell Thom Yorke's sweat. After checking out I ended up with this:

That's right, a $32.50 ticket costs as much as the base price for the best seats in the house! So what do we have here... "Building Facility Charge"? Is the building finished yet? My only guess is that Ford Amphitheatre doesn't get a cut of ticket sales so they have to request an extra fee to make money from the show. "Convenience Charge" is what you pay for the ability to purchase a ticket online instead of a TM box office. But then, what the hell is the "Order Processing Charge"? It takes them $9.75 to get the order from a web page to their booking servers, but another $5.15 for those computers to log my info and note that there is one less ticket available?

The real kick in the cock is "TicketFast Delivery", a service that lets you print your ticket using your very own paper and ink. That's right, instead of TM printing up one of their 142 million tickets sold per year and mailing it to you in one of those oh-so-expensive "envelopes" only the affluent can procure you're given the gracious opportunity to squirt some fluid from your $20 cartridge of ink and print your own. Best of all the printed ticket uses the entire sheet of paper even though it only warrants one half to provide you with THREE ADVERTISEMENTS, one for another TM service and one for a company that receives funding from TM.

Wikipedia does a pretty good job covering the ins and outs of TicketMaster. They've had several lawsuits brought against them for their pricing practices, the most prominent was one by Pearl Jam in the 90s. The company controls venue ticketing by as much as 75 to 90 percent in major cities across the United States. It's one thing to have a veritable monopoly on a service, but it's another to be a dick about it by obfuscating the profits made off of unsuspecting customers by charging fees 30 percent greater than the cost of that service.


Anonymous said...

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