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Springsteen speaks out on ticket backlash

"If there’s any complaints on the way out, you can have your money back," says The Boss in response to the dynamic pricing furore

By James Hanley on 21 Nov 2022

Bruce Springsteen has spoken out about the dynamic ticketing controversy for his 2023 tour.

Individual tickets reached more than $5,000 via Ticketmaster’s market-based platinum pricing model when the first wave of The E Street Band’s US tour dates went on sale in the summer.

The backlash prompted the 73-year-old’s manager Jon Landau to defend the pricing, insisting it was in line with shows for acts of a similar stature, while the average ticket price is around $250.

“Ticket buying has gotten very confusing, not just for the fans, but for the artists also”

Asked by Rolling Stone if he has any regrets regarding the decision, Springsteen says: ‘What I do is a very simple thing. I tell my guys, ‘Go out and see what everybody else is doing. Let’s charge a little less’ That’s generally the directions. They go out and set it up. For the past 49 years or however long we’ve been playing, we’ve pretty much been out there under market value. I’ve enjoyed that. It’s been great for the fans.

“This time I told them, ‘Hey, we’re 73 years old. The guys are there. I want to do what everybody else is doing, my peers.’ So that’s what happened.”

He continues: “Ticket buying has gotten very confusing, not just for the fans, but for the artists also. And the bottom line is that most of our tickets are totally affordable. We have those tickets that are going to go for that [higher] price somewhere anyway. The ticket broker or someone is going to be taking that money. I’m going, ‘Hey, why shouldn’t that money go to the guys that are going to be up there sweating three hours a night for it?’

“If there’s any complaints on the way out, you can have your money back”

“It created an opportunity for that to occur. And so at that point, we went for it. I know it was unpopular with some fans. But if there’s any complaints on the way out, you can have your money back.”

Ticketmaster says that platinum tickets account for 11.2% of the total sold, stressing that the remainder of the allocation sold at fixed prices ranging from $59.50 to $399.

“You don’t like to be criticised,” adds Springsteen. “You certainly don’t like to be the poster boy for high ticket prices. It’s the last thing you prefer to be. But that’s how it went. You have to own the decisions you have made and go out and just continue to do your best. And that was my take on it. I think if folks come to the show, they’re going to have a good time.”

“We were getting pilloried for the price of those tickets”

Springsteen, who released his 21st studio album Only The Strong Survive last week, also discusses whether he will utilise dynamic ticketing again in the future.

“I don’t know,” he says. “We’ll be talking about it, of course. It changes from tour to tour. We will be coming back. I’m sure we’ll be playing outside somewhat. That’ll be a whole other discussion when that comes around. I don’t want to say anything now, but we’ll see what happens.”

Live Nation president and CFO Joe Berchtold previously addressed the furore at Goldman Sachs Communacopia & Technology Conference in September.

“I think 80% of what’s out there is just is a lack of understanding of how ticketing really works,” he said. “The recent noise with the Bruce Springsteen ticket pricing was a great example, where we were getting pilloried for the price of those tickets.

“A lot of people thought that Ticketmaster set the price for those tickets. And for one of the first times ever for us, we had a representative of the artist – his manager – come out and say, ‘No, no, no, we set those prices. We looked around and we looked at what other artists were charging, we looked at secondary. We think he is one of the, if not the most iconic American artists out there. He doesn’t come around very often. And we think those that ticket pricing is fair.’”


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