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Dynamic ticketing: Springsteen’s manager defends pricing


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The Bruce Springsteen ticket-pricing saga rumbles on, and now The Boss’s, erm, boss – manager John Landau – has responded to fans’ loudly-voiced unhappinessat the dynamic pricing strategy that resulted in some of the tickets for Springsteen’s upcoming tour (face value: $200) costing over a thousand dollars.

In a statement to the New York Times, he defended the pricing strategy as being in line with what peers are doing: “We chose prices that are lower than some and on par with others […] Regardless of the commentary about a modest number of tickets costing $1,000 or more, our true average ticket price has been in the mid-$200 range,” he continued. Less than 2% of tickets were sold for over $1000, while just under 12% were sold above face value.

It’s interesting that hackles have been raised over dynamic pricing – where ticket prices fluctuate on demand, like airline tickets – to see an artist who is considered a man of the people. So what do those people really think? After all, nearly all the tickets have sold. The issue comes down to perception: fans are trying to simultaneously figure out if this system feels fair whilst balancing the price they paid with what they get in return – access to the first Springsteen tour since 2016.

$200 is a lot of money – but Springsteen fans seem to feel that it’s worth paying it to see their hero. But how will they feel if they paid $700 and find out that the person sitting next to them had only paid $200? Or if they leave the show feeling that it wasn’t worth whatever fee they paid for it? One good thing about dynamic pricing being used on high-profile shows is that we’ll find out how it affects fans’ relationships with their favourite artists.

Meanwhile, earlier this week, Music Ally published a new episode of our Focus podcast, which explored the concept of dynamic pricing and the needs of fans with Lawrence Peryer of ticketing platform Lyte. (You can listen to it here on your platform of choice, including, as of this week, YouTube.)

After the episode was re-tweeted by UK lobbying group Fan Fair Alliance, some interesting questions around the nature of dynamic pricing were raised in the replies, including an example of tickets for Megan Thee Stallion’s upcoming London show simultaneously available for the standard price of £52.40 – or a similar ticket, dynamically-priced at £96.55.

(One alternative view here is that dynamic pricing may be embraced by fans if it becomes possible to snap up a big star’s tickets for much less than face value.)

All of this sets us up for an interesting real-world experiment, as some ticket prices reach new highs right as fans ready themselves for rocketing living costs.


Written by: Joe Sparrow