This month, Robert Smith learned firsthand about the intricacies of the ticket industry when The Cure announced a North American tour. Even after the band dropped out of Ticketmaster’s “dynamic” pricing structure, many fans were unable to secure tickets, while others were hit with exorbitant service fees.
In a new post on his website, Neil Young dwells on The Cure’s tour drama. “C’est fini. The good old days are gone,” Young wrote, republishing an article about Smith’s fight for fair prices. “I’ve been getting letters blaming me for $3,000.00 worth of tickets to do. That money doesn’t go to me or the benefit. Artists need to worry about fans ripping off and blaming them for Ticketmaster extras and scalpers.”
Young continued, “Concert tours are no longer fun. Concert tours are not what they used to be.” View his full post here.
The Cure made a concerted effort to make their upcoming “Songs of a Lost World” tour more accessible to true fans in a scene dominated by scalpers and exclusive pricing. Only those enrolled in the “Certified Fan” sale could purchase non-transferable tickets, and the seat price went down to $20. However, Ticketmaster bypassed these affordability rules by manipulating service fees, utility fees, and processing fees, nearly doubling initially projected totals for some fans. After protests, Smith convinced the company to refund between $5 and $10 per order.
Smith and Young’s comments are the latest in a decades-old belief among musicians and fans that Ticketmaster keeps true fans from watching live music. The company has faced intense disdain and even an antitrust investigation in recent years, especially since it failed to meet the demand for the industry’s biggest artists. Before Smith told the company to do better, Ticketmaster announced that it would be more transparent about exactly what all those service fees meant.
Young has just started performing live again after taking a precautionary long break due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In April, he will perform at the “Light Up the Blues” autism fundraiser in Los Angeles. Shortly before that, he will be released all roads lead home, An album consisting of the singles by each member of Crazy Horse.