The Minaj/Scott dust-up this week, as we’ve said, has highlighted the growing trend for album sales to be bundled with merchandise and/or tickets in the US. Ariana Grande is the latest artist using the tactic, launching something called ‘The Sweetener Pass’ this week.
Sold from her website, the $10 pass – which is a physical laminate-with-lanyard pass – “includes priority venue entry to a 2019 Ariana Grande Headline Tour + future discounts”. A download of her new album ‘Sweetener’ is included too.
The site makes it clear that a ticket isn’t included: those will have to be bought separately. “You must have a purchased ticket to a Headline Arena Show in order to use your all access pass for priority venue entry,” as the site puts it.
The interesting thing here is that this pass is being sold for a tour that hasn’t even been announced yet: fans will get presale ticket access once it is though. “You will receive an e-mail with more details upon tour announcement,” explains the site.
The risk here is that while fans who buy such a bundle will know it doesn’t include a ticket, they may perceive it as *guaranteeing* a ticket when those go on sale. That could lead to unrest if lots of them miss out, although you’d hope that Grande’s team and their ticketing partners are keeping that firmly in mind as they plan the on-sale for next year’s tour.