Bruce Springsteen has finally spoken publicly about the controversy around Ticketmaster’s dynamic pricing structure that led to some of his tickets for his upcoming tour with the E Street Band costing upwards of $5,000.
The topic was broached in a new interview with Rolling Stone. He was asked if he knew in advance about the price points caused by dynamic pricing and whether he has any regrets about the whole situation. The Boss explains, “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. 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 [laughs].”
Springsteen 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.”
When asked whether he’ll avoid using dynamic pricing in the future, Springsteen responded, “I don’t know. I think in the future, we’ll be talking about it, of course [laughs]. 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.”
When the uproar around Springsteen tickets happened back in July, Ticketmaster addressed the situation saying the going price for most of the tickets being sold stating the average ticket price for Springsteen’s tour was $202 with the pricing range running from $59.50 to $399 before fees. About 88% of the tickets sold fall under this pricing.
As for the outrageously expensive tickets that led to all of the backlash, Ticketmaster says 11.8% of tickets fell under their “dynamic pricing” program where pricing fluctuates based on ticket demand, and only 1.3% of those tickets sold for over $1,000.
Springsteen’s longtime manager Jon Landau responded to the controversy in a piece for The New York Times. Landau said, “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. 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. 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.”