Bruce Springsteen has responded to the backlash surrounding the ticket prices for his forthcoming tour.
An outcry ensued a few months ago when tickets for Springsteen’s first tour with the full E Street Band since 2017 went on sale, with reports that some tickets were priced at $5,000 (£4152) each thanks to Ticketmaster’s “dynamic pricing” model. This system allows the ticketing site to charge more for tickets when they first go on sale, with the price increasing or decreasing depending on demand and in line with what a “scalper” – someone who resells tickets for profit – would sell them for, enabling the money to go to the artist and the in-house team.
Rolling Stone asked Springsteen about the controversy in an interview about his new album of soul covers, ‘Only The Strong Survive’. The Boss said that while he usually tries to charge “a little less” than peers, this time around, he wanted to do “what everybody else is doing”.
“What I do is a very simple thing. I tell my guys, ‘Go out and see what everybody else is doing. Let’s charge a little less.’ That’s generally the directions,” Springsteen said. “They go out and set it up. For the past 49 years or however long we’ve been playing, we’ve pretty much been out there under market value. I’ve enjoyed that. It’s been great for the fans.”
He added: “This time I told them, ‘Hey, we’re 73 years old. The guys are there. I want to do what everybody else is doing, my peers.’ So that’s what happened. That’s what they did.”
He did, however, acknowledge that “ticket buying has gotten very confusing” for both fans and artists. “And the bottom line is that most of our tickets are totally affordable. They’re in that affordable range,” he continued. “We have those tickets that are going to go for that [higher] price somewhere anyway. The ticket broker or someone is going to be taking that money. I’m going, ‘Hey, why shouldn’t that money go to the guys that are going to be up there sweating three hours a night for it?’
“I know it was unpopular with some fans. But if there’s any complaints on the way out, you can have your money back.”
Bruce Springsteen (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
Springsteen’s manager Jon Landau had previously addressed the criticism, telling The New York Times in a statement: “Regardless of the commentary about a modest number of tickets costing $1,000 (£828) or more, our true average ticket price has been in the mid-$200 (£165) range. I believe that in today’s environment, that is a fair price to see someone universally regarded as among the very greatest artists of his generation.”
Ticketmaster also issued a statement addressing the controversy, saying that “Prices and formats are consistent with industry standards for top performers” [as per Variety].
Springsteen did a three-night residency on The Tonight Show this week to promote ‘Only The Strong Survive’, performing his covers of ‘Nightshift’ and ‘Turn Back The Hands of Time’.
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