February 5, 2009

But I Don't Think it is...

In A letter posted on Facebook, Bruce Springsteen writes:
A Letter to Our Fans:

We know there was much confusion regarding Ticketmaster and TicketsNow during last Monday's on-sale dates. We were as confused as you were, as we were given no advance notice of the major changes in the Ticketmaster-TicketsNow world. (Bear in mind that we are not clients of any ticketing company, and that all those arrangements are between venues and ticketing companies.)

Last Monday, we were informed that Ticketmaster was redirecting your log-in requests for tickets at face value, to their secondary site TicketsNow, which specializes in up-selling tickets at above face value. They did this even when other seats remained available at face value. We condemn this practice.

We perceive this as a pure conflict of interest. Ticketmaster is there to ensure that we have a good, fair sale of our tickets at their face value plus normal ticketing charges. TicketsNow is supposed to be a secondary site where people who already have tickets may exchange, trade, and, unfortunately, speculate with them. We have asked this redirection from Ticketmaster to TicketsNow cease and desist immediately and Ticketmaster has agreed to do so in the future and has removed its unwanted material from their and our site.

We know the many cynical arguments some make in favor of the Ticketmaster system: There are rumors that some artists or managers participate in Ticketmaster charges--we do not. There are rumors that some artists or managers are receiving a percentage of the amount above face value at secondary outlets like TicketsNow--we do not. Some artists or managers may not perceive there to be a conflict between having the distributor of their tickets in effect "scalping" those same tickets through a secondary company like TicketsNow--we do.

While many of you have sent notes to us and your local promoters, you may also send accurate informational letters to Albert Lopez of Ticketmaster [Albert.Lopez@ticketmaster.com] and he will try to address your questions.

A final point for now: the one thing that would make the current ticket situation even worse for the fan than it is now would be Ticketmaster and Live Nation coming up with a single system, thereby returning us to a near monopoly situation in music ticketing. Several newspapers are reporting on this story right now. If you, like us, oppose that idea, you should make it known to your representatives.

The abuse of our fans and our trust by Ticketmaster has made us as furious as it has made many of you. We will continue to do our utmost now and in the future to make sure that these practices are permanently curtailed on our tours.

Bruce Springsteen, Jon Landau and the entire Springsteen Tour Team

To view this go to: http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?topic=6551&post=26462&uid=7401700249#/topic.php?uid=7401700249&topic=6551&ref=mf

This fan replies:

To Bruce and Jon -

Thank you for your letter and for taking a stand against the abuse of your fans. I too was shut out of Ticketmaster and forced into TicketsNow - who also sent me an email offering me a 5% discount off tickets raised, in some cases, more than 10 times the face value.

In at least one New Jersey paper, The Record of Bergen County, there have been stories that a Paterson Congressman is calling for an investigation regarding Ticketmaster's practices and it's monopoly. It would seem that there is a clear violation of the Federal Trade Agreement as well as an obvious conflict of interest.

As a long-time devoted fan, I can assure you that I did not consider for a moment that Bruce, E-Street or Jon Landau received any profit from this practice. In fact, I reported this to ABC News and told them that while I certainly have not had the privilege of knowing Bruce Springsteen personally, I could not imagine he would support the robbery of his fans.

I have, fortunately, had the privilege of seeing Bruce live several times. For those who haven't, I can assure you it is very near a religious experience. Every show has it's own unique flavor and each show is exhilarating. There is no doubt that it is worth every penny to attend Bruce's shows, in particular when he performs with E-Street. There is also no doubt that Bruce cares for his fans and puts all that he has into giving each and every audience their monies worth. Often I have come away exhausted, with no voice left - and thrilled every time.

Any Bruce fan worth his salt would give you similar feedback on the experience of seeing this legendary artist live. Every fan of Bruce would tell you that there is no chance at all that Bruce would favor or support the actions of Ticketmaster.

All that I can hope for at this point is that Bruce and E-Street will follow recent tour practices and return to New Jersey at the end of the tour. Hopefully, the issues with TIcketmaster will have been cleared up and those of us who were shut out this time will get lucky then.

As a last comment, I can tell you that if I wanted to pay more than $500 for two people to see Bruce from behind the stage, I would have simply gone to Ebay! Plenty of seats there, as there still appears to be plenty of seats on TicketsNow - so long as you have an income similar to Bruce's to afford it.

Thanks again, Bruce and Jon. It is good to have yet another confirmation of your decency and loyalty to those who are so loyal to you.

Eileen Miller

For those who wish to join the fight against this practice, see the story in The Record which also provides contact information for those who actually have the power and ability to put a stop to Ticketmaster's illegal and immoral practices.


This story also points out that TicketMaster is now working to merge with LiveNation, which creates a monopoly that benefits no one save the coffers of TicketMaster.

Maybe it's me, but I think this is a fight worth fighting. Concerts and other entertainment events should not be solely for the wealthy. It has already become nearly impossible for fans to take their kids to a football game, a hockey game - and baseball is on it's way as well. Add the cost of the tickets, the parking, and the outrageous cost of a dog and a soda, and most of us just give up. In every area of our lives, the working class is struggling. A moment comes for a short reprieve from the struggle, a moment to enjoy a legendary artist - and that working class is taken to the cleaners. While that certainly is not a new situation, the Ticketmaster fiasco is.

This is not an event to sit by and be angry - this is a time to make your voice heard. It is a time for Bruce to make his voice heard, and so he has.