A couple of weeks ago, Bruce Springsteen announced plans to tour North America with his E Street Band for the first time since 2016. Pretty exciting! But some fans were considerably less excited when they logged on to the Ticketmaster website to buy tickets last week. Tickets for the Springsteen shows varied in price, but some of the “platinum” tickets cost as much as $5,000 when they first went on sale. Those astronomical prices are part of Ticketmaster’s “dynamic pricing” model, and Ticketmaster has now attempted to defend this extreme new level of gouging.
“Dynamic pricing” is supposedly Ticketmaster’s way of squeezing out scalpers and sites like StubHub and SeatGeek. The idea is that Ticketmaster can charge a ton for tickets when they first go on sale, and if the tickets are still available a while later, the prices might drop. This basically means that Ticketmaster is scalping its own tickets. The practice has been pissing off ticket-buyers for a few years, but $5,000 for a Springsteen show seems like some absolutely insane new level of greed.
Now, as Variety reports, Ticketmaster is defending the whole Springsteen boondoggle, claiming that only 11.2% of the Springsteen tickets sold last week were platinum and that only a little more than 1% were $5,000 or more. The company also claims that the average Springsteen ticket sold for $262 — which, it’s worth noting, is still very expensive, albeit not used-car expensive. Ticketmaster also claims that “prices and formats are consistent with industry standards for top performers.” Variety speculates that Ticketmaster made this statement because there’s been so much online backlash and because they want people to still try to buy tickets for the tour, some of which haven’t gone on sale yet.
Springsteen has not commented on this whole controversy yet. But it’s worth mentioning that Springsteen sold his masters and his publishing rights to Sony last year; the deal was worth a reported $500 million. So Bruce Springsteen doesn’t need your $5,000.