From Bruce Springsteen to Taylor Swift, “concert prices are soaring, at the risk of accentuating a divide between audiences”


Swould you be prepared to officially pay several thousand dollars to attend a concert by your favorite singer? In July, when Bruce Springsteen went on sale with tickets for his upcoming US tour, many fans initially thought it was a bad joke. Or a bug in the servers of the company Ticketmaster, the main provider of concert tickets in the world. When the ticket office opened, some seats were displayed at … 5,500 dollars (5,280 euros), a price generally reserved for resale sites or the black market.

But he quickly had to make up his mind: these exorbitantly priced tickets were not suspicious. According to the laws of pricing nicely called “dynamic”, Ticketmaster, in perfect agreement with the producer of the show, increases the prices of certain seats according to demand. The higher it is, the more the prices rise. Result, for a tour as awaited as that of Bruce Springsteen, the prices are panicking and reach records.

This system has long been applied to seats sold by airlines or railway companies, such as the SNCF. It allows these companies to modulate the prices according to the influx and therefore, in theory, to better ensure the filling of their trains or their planes. In sport too, the big clubs organize the resale of tickets themselves and, here too, the more prestigious the meetings, the more you have to put your hand in the wallet.

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But the arrival of this dynamic pricing in the world of entertainment, and more particularly for the tour of an artist like Bruce Springsteen, reputed to be “close to the people” and usually charging – relatively – moderate prices for his concerts, caused a great stir across the Atlantic . Betrayal of his fans, scandalous system, greed… The “Boss” and his entourage had ringing ears and not because of the feedback from the guitars.

Black market gangrene

A few days ago, Springsteen returned to the controversy in a long interview with the magazine RollingStone. He assumes this inflation. “For the past forty-nine years, we have been playing below market prices. I loved it. It was good for the fans. Today, I am 73 years old. I want to do what everyone does. That’s what happened. Buying tickets has always been confusing, for spectators and performers alike. The most important thing is that the majority of our tickets are affordable. And then you have these tickets whose prices are going to go up, very high. Either way, resale sites or someone else will take that money. So what I’m saying is why wouldn’t that money go to those who go sweat on stage for three hours? »

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