It's Pretty OK
Solving the paradoxes of our time since 2016

Blog

Bullshit: An Investigation

Part 1

From Rock & Roll Hotel's website:

You cannot purchase tickets over the phone through Rock & Roll Hotel. However, for tickets over the phone, contact Ticketfly Sales at 877.987.6487.

Part 2

Part 3

Also from Rock & Roll Hotel's website:

Any convenience fees are priced as low as possible.

Part 4

Conclusion

As consumers, we really need to stop accepting this absurd practice of marking up tickets for the benefit of no one but the provider of the ticket-buying service.

Say what you want about this providing an opportunity for the venues to connect with more people and sell more tickets, but that markup directly benefits neither the venue (especially local, small venues which are worth supporting because they provide inexpensive, intimate shows) nor (more importantly) THE ACTUAL FUCKING ARTISTS.

The artists, who we are all actually here for, don't get a lick, but their image and product is making someone else money, NCAA-style.

Is this "just the way the way business is?" Maybe.

But do not get on some fake high horse and say that convenience fees are as low as possible. Maybe you think they are, but don't you dare say that to me, because as a consumer, I'm not ever going to agree with paying 33% more money that you (the venue) fork over immediately to some third party without ever being able to touch.

The online ticket industry is fucked 20 ways to Tuesday - especially secondarily - but the primary objective of purchasing tickets should not be so galling.

Let's just think for a moment about how much goddamn money Ticketfly, who has nothing really to do with the show I'm trying to go to, will make from this: My investigation says the venue has a capacity of 400 people. That's a shade over $1,900 for those playing at home (remember the $4.78 fee above).

Now, there are three acts at this particular show. Based on the ticket price (before the bullshit fees), the revenue generated by a sold-out show is $6,000. From that pool, the venue has to pay all three acts plus their staff - but the costs to the venue are sunk before they sell a single ticket, and if they don't sell out, they're kind of fucked. (Half-full show? Still gotta pay people.)

Meanwhile, the third party vendor (whose only service is this already-developed ticket-buying tool) is guaranteed to make money on every ticket sold. So again, the third party reaps profit while our friendly neighborhood small venue is trying to scrape by, when the venues are the ones actually supporting the people we're there for: yanno, the artists, staff, community, etc.

These venues people enjoy (think DC9, Black Cat, Rock & Roll Hotel, etc., in the DC area) are trying to provide a wonderful place to hang out, listen to music, and just commune with other people, and they might not make it. But a third party who provides an already-developed service profits by charging fees like they're still paying for R&D. It's like drug companies not charging marginal rates in developing countries.

I thank places like Rock & Roll Hotel for existing, but don't give these bastards an inch, ever. Because having someone answering phones and accepting ticket orders for a few hours a day might actually mean more money for you, rather than for fucking Ticketfly.

-Pierce Bishop