Bruce Springsteen addressed the controversial ticketing rollout for his 2023 U.S. tour for the first time, telling Rolling Stone he knows “it was unpopular with some fans” but maintaining that “most of our tickets are totally affordable.”
When tickets for the tour went on sale in the summer, fans were outraged by Ticketmaster’s dynamic pricing and costs skyrocketing up to $5,000 apiece.
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“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. 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,” Springsteen said. “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 continued, “But ticket buying has gotten very confusing, not just for the fans, but for the artists also. And the bottom line is that most of our tickets are totally affordable. They’re in that affordable range. 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?’ It created an opportunity for that to occur. And so at that point, we went 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.”
Asked how he felt about the fan blowback, Springsteen said, “Well, I’m old. I take a lot of things in stride. You don’t like to be criticized. You certainly don’t like to be the poster boy for high ticket prices. It’s the last thing you prefer to be. But that’s how it went. You have to own the decisions you have made and go out and just continue to do your best. And that was my take on it. I think if folks come to the show, they’re going to have a good time.”
Will Springsteen avoid dynamic pricing going forward? “I don’t know,” he said. “I think in the future, we’ll be talking about it, of course. It changes from tour to tour. We will be coming back. I’m sure we’ll be playing outside somewhat. That’ll be a whole other discussion when that comes around. I don’t want to say anything now, but we’ll see what happens.”
Back in July, Springsteen’s longtime manager Jon Landau defended the ticketing rollout to The New York Times, saying, “In pricing tickets for this tour, we looked carefully at what our peers have been doing. We chose prices that are lower than some and on par with others.” Landau also held that while some ticket prices climbed up to four figures, the average ticket price was “in the mid-$200 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,” Landau said.
Ticketmaster is facing another fire with Taylor Swift, whose “Eras Tour” was met with unprecedented demand, skyrocketing prices and outright cancellations of ticket sales. Responding to her own fan outrage, Swift issued a statement saying Ticketmaster “assured” her they could meet the demand and that it was “excruciating for me to just watch mistakes happen with no recourse.”
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