A series of essays about sales, startups, & general banter by Nick Persico

Why I Hate Buying Tickets

Disclaimer: I am not an expert in the online ticketing industry. The goal of this post is to start a conversation, that will hopefully include experts in the online ticketing industry. Ticket prices and fees vary by ticket distribution platform, artist, venue, and promoter. I realize that Ticketmaster may/may not be the only one to blame for this horrible transaction process.

23.8% Of My Ticket Price Were Charges & Fees

I recently purchased two tickets to a concert at a venue in San Francisco. The concert is in late October, and I am guessing that it will be sold out. I went to the artist’s website, found the tour date in San Francisco, and clicked “Buy Tickets”. Then I was taken to Ticketmaster to purchase the tickets.

The “Convenience Charge”

As I moved through the buying process, the fee frenzy began with the infamous “Convenience Charge”:

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A whopping $10.30 per ticket convenience charge. That is 25.7% of the total ticket price. I really want to go to the concert, so I decided to proceed to the next step.

The “Delivery Charge”

The next step of the Ticketmaster process is the “Select Delivery Method” page, where you choose how you will receive your tickets. It’s 2012, I have a printer, smartphone, and common sense. Printing my tickets is a no brainer.

Before I select Ticketmasters “TicketFast” print at home delivery method, I see a charge of $2.50 per order! What the hell?!

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Let me get this straight, I need to pay $2.50 to print out my tickets at home; but it’s free for Ticketmaster to print/sort/mail the tickets to me? Isn’t technology supposed to help save everyone money?

I do or don’t do a lot of things based on the principle. So I made the choice to have the tickets mailed to me. Hooray, I saved $2.50 by electing to not use a piece of technology that every other ticket outlet on the planet has been offering for years.

The “Order Processing Fee”

I’ve come this far, so I might as well continue with my purchase. Like I said, I really want to attend this concert. It’s now the final step of my purchase, so I begin to double check my order information…

Before I click Purchase and throw a fist pump in the air, I notice another fee. An “Order Processing Fee” for $4.45. You guys can’t be serious.

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Charges and fees have now accounted for 23.8% of my total purchase price. If I had chosen the “TicketFast” print-at-home feature, the charges and fees would been 25.6% of my total purchase price. Wowzers.

A Broken Pricing Structure

It’s not about the total price, it’s how we arrived at the total price. Do I think it’s worth paying $52.52 per ticket to go this concert? Absolutely. Shit guys, I would pay $60.

The first price I saw per ticket was $40. The price I paid was $52.52, after taking me through several steps to actually complete the purchase. You gave me multiple opportunities to change my mind about purchasing altogether.

As a consumer, I should only have to say I want to buy once. Hey artist and/or venue, you worked so hard to get me to your website and click the “Buy Tickets” button. Why do you allow your ticketing service to throw that all away with a poorly designed checkout process?

It’s Time To Change, Here’s What Needs To Happen:

Someone Needs To Create A New Ticketing Platform - Create a online/mobile ticketing platform for venues and artists that does not charge per transaction. Your revenues are generated by a monthly subscription to the artist or venue. Hey Eventbrite, are you listening? There are 18,000+ (Source) of eligible live music venues in the US, so there is a big enough target market there for you to succeed. Please let me know if this platform already exists.

Venues/Artists Need To Ditch The Big Guys - Take control of your event ticketing system by using the above subscription platform that charges you per month, not per ticket. Please let me know if this already exists.

All-Inclusive Pricing Model - Now you can sell tickets for an all-inclusive price. The first ticket price that the fans will see. So my ticket cost should remain $52.52 (see above), but it will go directly to the parties that actually do the hard work.

Offer More Music/Merchandise + Ticket Packages - I love this idea and have already seen some bands offering this (Circa Survive). This one’s for the content creators. As a fan, I would love to buy your new album, some merch, and a ticket to the upcoming concert in my city at a subsidized cost per item. Great way to sell some advance tickets.

Forget Everything I Just Wrote, We Should All Learn From Louis C.K. - https://buy.louisck.net/tour-dates

Profile of Nick Persico

Nick Persico

Head of Growth at Close.io. Previous: Co-Founder of Smart Host (StartupBus 2014, Techstars Austin S14), VP of Ops at Krossover, and sales at Sysco. Baltimore Orioles and Ravens fan. GIF enthusiast.