The Cure frontman Robert Smith says he has persuaded Ticketmaster to partially refund the “unduly high” fees being added to tickets for their US tour – in some cases adding up to more than the price of a ticket.
The 63-year-old singer shared his frustration over the pricing on Twitter, telling his followers he was “as sickened as you all are” over the additional fees, and that he would contact the ticketing giant – which is the world’s largest ticket-selling marketplace – to chase down answers.
Using his trademark caps lock font he wrote: “I have been asking how they are justified. If I get anything coherent by way of an answer I will let you all know.”
The English rock band, known for hits including Boys Don’t Cry and Friday I’m in Love, had kept a low price point on their tickets – with some as low as $20 (£16) – in a bid to keep them affordable amid the cost of living crisis.
However, shortly after tickets went on sale, fans shared screenshots of Ticketmaster shopping baskets, showing varying fees across different venues.
One fan reported a $16.75 (£13.87) service fee in Massachusetts, while another fan said they had paid a $15 (£12.42) fee in Toronto.
One person who had purchased a $20 ticket, showed the various fees – a service fee of $11.65 and a facility charge of $10, plus an overall order processing fee of $5.50 – all adding up to more than the face value of the ticket.
The tickets were being sold as part of Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan program, which allows fans to register for advanced sales in an attempt to prevent tickets from being bought by touts and bots and resold at a massive markup.
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Following his initial tweet on Thursday, Smith issued an update to fans: “After further conversation, Ticketmaster have agreed with us that many of the fees being charged are unduly high, and as a gesture of goodwill have offered a $10 per ticket refund to all verified fan accounts for lowest ticket price (‘ltp’) transactions.”
He said all fans who bought more expensive tickets would receive a $5 refund per ticket for any show on the band’s US tour.
He also said refunds would be automatic for anyone who had already bought a ticket, and that all future ticket sales would incur lower fees.
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Smith previously said the band, which was formed in West Sussex in 1978, had chosen to use Ticketmaster in order to combat “scalping” – a term that refers to traders buying large numbers of tickets and re-selling them at a profit.
He said they had declined to participate in the company’s dynamic pricing and Platinum ticket schemes as they did not want ticket prices to be “instantly and horribly distorted by resale”.
Musicians including Taylor Swift, Drake, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, and Harry Styles have all previously used the dynamic pricing system, which sees ticket prices increase in line with demand.
However, there had been a backlash to the system after individual tickets ended up selling for thousands of dollars.
In the US, Ticketmaster is being investigated after its system was overwhelmed by demand for Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour in November last year.
At the time Swift described the situation as “excruciating”, while the US congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called for a break-up of Ticketmaster and Live Nation, which merged in 2010, claiming they had a “monopoly” on the live music industry.
Sky News has contacted Ticketmaster, and its parent company, Live Nation for comment.