We already know Ticketmaster is a rip-off, John Oliver explains just how terrible it is

Originally published at: We already know Ticketmaster is a rip-off, John Oliver explains just how terrible it is | Boing Boing


I got all the way through to the end of a purchase when they added $45 to email the tickets, with no other options. Never trying again.


This garbage company is long overdue for an anti-trust slice-n-dice. When I see a situation like this go on so long despite the hatred of every party forced to deal with it my first question is “which politicians has the company purchased?”


Somehow, I get the feeling Mike Damone is behind all this.


It’s very much a monopoly, as @gracchus says… they need to get broken up.

On another note, some other services are marginally better but it does infinitely annoy me that some will charge a web fee as a “convenience” when we all know the cost is negligible for them. I also like to collect my ticket stubs as a memento given the chance and there have been times where no option to receive an physical ticket is available, which i can live with but does annoy me.


Most shows I see are/were at small venues. But for the occasional larger venue - Tickermaster always makes it worse :frowning:


Ticketmaster Canada are notorious for illegal and unfair trade practices in breach of Canadian Consumer Protection laws. Their most recent settlement with that federal agency resulted in them being levied a $4.5 million fine for false and misleading advertising and they have been investigated in the United States for similar practices. They are currently the subject of several consumer lawsuits. Consumers who have gone on social media to voice their criticisms have been banned by the company from any events they present. Because of their virtual monopoly this means a total ban on any concerts and similar events.


Here’s why Ticketmaster is terrible:

They exist, plane and simple…


Every time I hear a story about Ticketmaster I’m filled with a sense of amazement that they even still exist in this day and age.

I mean… that kind of service made sense back in they days when fax machines were the only way to send documents electronically and Western Union was the only way to send cash.to someone on the other side of the country. But now we have about a dozen technologies that should have killed Ticketmaster years ago. I can’t even remember the last event I went to that required a physical ticket instead of a QR code.


I think they must get a huge kickback from the scalpers, or they are the scalpers on the side.

In some jurisdictions, they got laws passed, making their technical problem into a police matter. (i.e. burying it.)


Makes it easy for professional ticket broker bots to buy most of the tickets, which are scalped at inflated prices (including Ticketmaster’s own secondary market)

I’ve found this practice particularly loathsome. Ticketmaster collects a cut of the ticket and a “service fee” when the ticket is originally purchased. Then, when it’s scalped on the very ticket-scalping sites Ticketmaster owns, Ticketmaster again collects a cut of the same ticket and again collects a “service fee” on the same ticket.

Or, like when Ma Bell charged phone customers to “rent” the handset—a practice that finally stopped when AT&T was broken up in the '80’s.

It’s all rent-seeking behavior; i.e., “how can I continue to charge people for using my thing even though these continued charges contribute nothing to the functionality of the thing?”


This is why I always try to go to the box office to get tickets if I’m close enough. It helps that I have less than no interest in seeing anyone at a venue like Madison Square Garden.

Me too. Over the holidays my mom brought a lot of my stuff up and included was an old ammo box full of old tickets. Literally the only things I collect are old concert and bus tickets, boarding passes and the like. The bang for the nostalgia buck is really high for something that can be used as a bookmark. It was really cool bragging to my kids about the acts that I saw in my 20s, many of which they now listen to regularly.


Yeah i’ve gone to a few i really enjoyed and only had an eTicket, which is a bummer when i think about going over my drawer of memorabilia. I definitely wont immediately remember some events


Haven’t been to a show since before covid but even then there has been a disclaimer for a lot of shows.

Ticket prices may vary based on demand at the time off purchase.


I remeber the good old days sleeping outside Cobo Arena to get good seats for a show. That was pre satellite locations with computer terminals.

When our daughter was still pre teen I thought I’d show her what it was like to wait in line overnight for NSYNC tickets. We were the 6th person in line, 6th, when tickets went on sale at the venue box office.

Sold out seconds after. That was around '96.

I went to my best costumer at the time and asked if he had any connections. He asked how many, 2 would be awesome. He picked up the phone called his ad rep at the radio station and got us 6 tickets in the 5th row. Wouldn’t take any money, he’s been an awesome customer for 30 years.

I was the coolest dad ever.

But boy was I pissed, not at the person that got us the tickets but at Ticketmaster and the whole system.


If I understood the episode, also:

  • Incentivizes and helps facilitate artists’ getting into the scalping game.

From Ticketmaster… effectively, all of them per FEC.gov from 1992-2001. Money went to election committees for both parties. Check out the numbers. And after 2001? With so many acquisitions under its belt, Live Nations Entertainment (Ticketmaster+Live Nations) has many avenues through which it could funnel contributions bribes. The FEC site also shows that LNE formed a Political Action Committee late last year. No big $ activity shown… yet.


the only thing worse than ticketmaster are the dozens of reseller leeching off of ticketmaster who charg 3-20 times the ticketmaster price for certain shows. mrs navarro and i paid ticketmaster $1048 for two decently located tickets to see paul mccartney in fort worth this upcoming may. two days later mrs. navarro checked in on some of the resellers and found two tickets in the row behind our seats going for $2449 per ticket so two together in the row behind ours would cost $4898. meanwhile the ticket for a seat on the 6th row on the floor was going for $15,099. yee-ha!


NFT-based tickets fixes this, for so many reasons.
Although need to extricate the venues from TM control.



I lucked out on tickets because (tl;dr activist calling in a very rare favor)… In that case the “venue” held large blocks of tickets. This is in L.A. where it likely behooves TM and the venues to leave good seating options for celebs and movers/shakers. For sure in my case, you had to “know a guy.”

In the full piece, John Oliver explores this as well. It’s ALL a racket. Ticketmaster knows. They do nothing to stop scalpers. They have registered and know that the same person may own 100 separate computers or lines or accounts through which they simultaneously buy tickets at the same time and platform on which the rest of us suckers are trying to buy at the original price. And they must have hundreds or thousands of those resell agencies pulling that. Ticketmaster reps at a trade fair admitted this with zero sheepishness.

You win.