Written by Eric Sperrazza
Photos courtesy of the TheCure.com
It was the mid-90, and I was a high school student, listening to the boombox in my room while getting ready to take the Q14 bus to another day of the finest education one could hope to achieve in Queens, New York. On the radio, like many others, I first heard of the grunge conquistadors, Pearl Jam, and the fight they were taking to Ticketmaster. Hearing of the band embroiled in a legal battle with a ticket service over unfair and monopolistic business practices didn’t command my attention and support then. Still, it did set the stage for a gripe I would have the rest of my days, the exuberant cost of seeing a live show.
At the time, Ticketmaster was the dominant ticketing company in the United States and controlled most concert ticket sales. Pearl Jam objected to Ticketmaster’s high service fees, which they believed were excessive and unfair to fans. They also criticized Ticketmaster’s exclusive contracts with many large venues, which they argued limited competition and made it difficult for alternative ticketing companies to enter the market. So, in 1994, Pearl Jam attempted to book a tour without using Ticketmaster but faced resistance from many venues that had exclusive contracts with the company. The band then filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice, alleging that Ticketmaster violated antitrust laws.
While Pearl Jam’s fight against Ticketmaster did not result in a complete overhaul of the ticketing industry, it did draw attention to the issue of high ticketing fees. It helped pave the way for alternative ticketing companies to enter the market. Unfair pricing practices have long plagued the music industry, but a hero from the most unlikely places recently stepped up to the front of the charge and forced the ticket giant to take the onus of their actions.
Enter Robert Smith of The Cure.
Smith recently took a stand against Ticketmaster and Vivid Seats. Known for their exuberant fees and price-gauging, they have been the bane of many concertgoers’ existence for years. But thanks to Smith’s public criticism and advocacy on Twitter, the companies may have finally changed their ways.
The iconic frontman of The Cure has always been known for his outspoken views on social and political issues. So, when he learned of Ticketmaster’s shady pricing practices during the release of seats of The Cure’s 2023 U.S. Tour, Lost World, he didn’t hesitate to speak out. In interviews and on social media, Smith criticized the company for its greed and urged fans to boycott Ticketmaster and buy tickets directly from the venue. As a result, more and more people started buying tickets directly from venues or using alternative ticketing services for pending North American tour dates, hoping to start a longstanding wave of change.
And change they did! In response to the backlash and mounting revenue pressure, Ticketmaster announced a new pricing policy that eliminated many fees and made tickets more affordable for fans. It is a massive victory for Smith and music lovers everywhere, who had long felt exploited by ticket-pricing practices.
The impact of Smith’s tweets, interviews, and actions wasn’t relegated to mere fees but a revamp of a verified pre-release ticket-buying practice that has long been taken advantage of by scalpers, as well. By using his platform to call out Ticketmaster and raise awareness about their pricing practices, he was able to effect real change in the industry. His actions helped to level the playing field for fans and ensure that the cost of attending live concerts is more reasonable and transparent in the future.
Robert Smith’s victory over Ticketmaster is a testament to artists’ power and ability to effect change in the music industry. By speaking out against unfair pricing practices and advocating for the rights of fans, Smith has helped to create a more equitable and just concert experience for all.
Sometimes, the ‘Good Guy’ doesn’t ride in on a white horse wearing a white hat, but rather, black eyeliner and red lipstick.
The Cure’s 2023 North American Tour, Lost World, has kicked off and is coming to a venue near you soon! Visit www.thecure.com/#shows to see where they are stopping next, along with ticket options.
The tour stops in Philadelphia on June 24th at the Wells Fargo Center. You can still buy tickets directly through the Wells Fargo Center. Click Here
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