Live Nation, Ticketmaster pledge to end hidden fees for easier shopping process

Pili Saravia, General News Reporter

Entertainment company Live Nation and ticket platform Ticketmaster pledged to display tickets’ full prices up front rather than at the end of the checkout process, according to a June 15 announcement from President Joe Biden.

Referred to as “all-in pricing,” the solution ends hidden “junk fees,” which often force shoppers to pay more than expected at the last second. Other companies, like ticket platform SeatGeek, agreed to redesign their websites so full prices are accessible earlier in the checkout process.

“We’ve been pushing for, not just all in pricing, but better consumer practices when it comes to ticketing,” a SeatGeek spokesperson said. “It’s been kind of one of these industries that just lacked better consumer policies.” 

Journalism sophomore Mackenzie Long said that when buying Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour tickets last November, Ticketmaster’s website crashed for a couple of hours, leaving her unable to purchase tickets despite waiting in the queue. Long said Ticketmaster e-mailed her in December with a second opportunity to buy tickets. On the website, she input her price limit — which did not include the hidden “junk fees” — and then selected a ticket. 

Long paid approximately $100 in fees. 

“The website kept crashing, and then (I) still pay service fees for their website that crashed a bunch of times and didn’t let us get tickets in the first place,” Long said. “I don’t get it. What are we paying for?”

Ticketmaster’s website states that some fees help fund the company’s technological services, and because venues set and receive most fees, eliminating them would only result in higher ticket prices. Instead, Ticketmaster joined SeatGeek to advocate for upfront pricing. 

Earlier this year, Ticketmaster called on Congress to mandate industry-wide all-in pricing. A SeatGeek spokesperson said the company has pushed for all-in pricing since 2016, but they cannot do so alone because it would create competitive imbalances. According to the spokesperson, if a ticket initially seems cheaper on a website with hidden junk fees, the consumer is still more likely to buy the ticket since the price increase happens so late in the checkout process.

“Because everyone is working almost from the same data … you’re essentially working with the same ticket,” the SeatGeek spokesperson said. “When it comes down to competition, who actually sells that ticket, price is a huge factor. If you can make your pricing lower, whether it really is or not, then it’s an advantage that you can have in the shopping process.”