Music Industry

Published on March 15th, 2018 | by Alan Cross

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Why it’s pointless to put the face value price on concert tickets

How much does a concert ticket cost? Well, that depends. Before or after taxes and service fees? On the primary market or the secondary market? From a legitimate booker or a scalper? All these factors render the concept of “face value” useless–or so says this opinion piece from TicketNews.com

The Canadian government sued Ticketmaster this past month alleging misleading ticket price advertising. The government found in its investigation that Ticketmaster’s mandatory fees often inflate the advertised price by more than 20% and, in some cases, by over 65%. It’s a case worth taking a close look at because it is the subject of a longtime complaint by nearly everyone who has purchased tickets from Ticketmaster. The bigger point is this; the face value of a ticket is not representative of a ticket’s cost.

It’s meaningless.

Yet, there are some who cling to it simply because it’s a price that is printed on a ticket, regardless of the price paid for the ticket. Indeed, there are laws being considered that would require the face value of a ticket to be disclosed on ticket resale sites (or set as a price cap for resale as a whole). When lawmakers consider this they really need to take a deeper look at what they are proposing. When they do, finally perhaps, some much-needed transparency might make its way to the primary market for tickets.

Instead of calling it “face value” it would be more accurate to refer to the price on a ticket as a “pre-fee starting point” because the actual price of a ticket is so far off from the printed price – often 25% – 50%.

Keep reading.




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About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.


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