When web services go bad: Ticketmaster's outrageous tax on culture - it harms society

Summary:Ticketmaster buys up exclusive rights to online ticket sales and charges a collection of fees that can nearly double the price of a ticket.What value does it provide?! . . .

My daughter Sarah asked me to buy a ticket for her for a music event at a San Francisco venue. The ticket was $13.50 but I ended up feeling I'd been mugged by Ticketmaster because by check out time I had paid more than $26.

I'm used to the outrageous fees that Ticketmaster levies but they snuck one up on me that was hidden. In addition to a facility charge of $1.50 and the convenience charge of $5.90, there was a hidden order processing fee of $5.40! Total cost was $26.30!

And it could easily have been more, I could have chosen to print out the ticket for a fee of $2 instead of the "free" will call option. I could also have chosen insurance for my ticket, and other options that would have taken the price closer to $30. That's for a $13.50 ticket!

What value has Ticketmaster provided?!

Did Ticketmaster rehearse in a garage for years so that they could play live at large San Francisco venue? Did Ticketmaster hire the venue staff and deal with the serious logisitcs of thousands of people and the safety requirements?

No, Ticketmaster's added value was to serve up a web page and process a payment. Visa and Mastercard do that all day long for a 4 percent cut. But Ticketmaster takes nearly 100 per cent of the sales price. For what?

This is an over-the-top tax on culture from a greedy corporation that has bought monopoly rights to tens of thousands of venues. Why isn't this a DOJ or FTC monopoly investigation?

It should be illegal to buy monopoly rights to tickets at events. If Ticketmaster believes it offers fair value then let's open up the access and see if it can compete on its own merits. It won't because it knows it can't.

This is a tax on culture, it cuts down on live performances and on people getting together. My daughter is 15 and she can afford a $13.50 ticket but when it gets inflated to $26.30, she can't and that means the artists lose out too.

Ticketmaster imposes an unfair tax on our culture by making it more expensive to attend cultural events. This is not good for our society.

If I can help it I will never buy from Ticketmaster again and I urge the FTC to block future and present acquisitions such as with Live Nation. And I urge others not to invest in Ticketmaster or any of the funds that invest in Ticketmaster [TKTM]. http://finance.yahoo.com/q/mh?s=TKTM

UPDATE: Thanks for everyone's comments. I've also received quite a few emails on this topic - you can read some of them here.

Topics: Government : US, Banking, Government

About

In May 2004, Tom Foremski became the first journalist to leave a major newspaper, the Financial Times, to make a living as a full-time journalist blogger. He writes the popular news blog Silicon Valley Watcher--reporting on the business of Silicon Valley.Tom arrived in San Francisco in 1984, and has covered US technology markets for leadi... Full Bio

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