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Ticketmaster says it will now institute ‘all-in pricing,’ but here’s what that really means

Published Jun 15th, 2023 7:30PM EDT
Ticketmaster app
Image: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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Few companies elicit as much anger and frustration among consumers these days as Ticketmaster — the ticketing behemoth that draws ire for everything from its exorbitant fees to the arbitrary, lottery-style way it picks which consumers can even try to buy tickets to begin with.

As part of a Biden administration effort to crack down on junk fees that bring in millions of dollars for not just ticket companies but also businesses like banks and airlines, Ticketmaster and its parent entity Live Nation joined a group of companies on Thursday promising to impose “all-in pricing” in the future. The idea is that customers will get an idea of the full price on the front end for whatever they’re buying, as opposed to just before checkout when all sorts of junk fees are tacked on.

There’s a hilarious Ticketmaster meme you’ll see being shared on social media from time to time that illustrates this infuriating practice pretty well. And I’m betting you probably agree with its wording.

“Ticketmaster be like:

  • Concert ticket: $40
  • Venue fee: $21.32
  • Access fee: $18.32
  • Paperless transmission fee: $12.03
  • Fee fee: $8.84
  • Fee fi fo fum fee: $8.84
  • Cuz we can fee: $2.01
  • Might as well fee: $1.89
  • WTF you going to do fee: $3
  • Another dollar won’t hurt fee: $1″

I guess if we’re being technical — okay, fine, disclosing these fees earlier in the ticket-buying process is technically a consumer-friendly move. But, really, if all we’re doing is moving the annoying and exorbitant add-on fees to earlier in the buying process, essentially hiding them inside a grand total that will be disclosed on the front end, not only is the consumer really not better off in the long run.

But also: What incentive does Ticketmaster have to stop itself from now “hiding” more add-on fees inside that overall price tag? It’s not like you’d know, since the fees seemingly won’t be broken out anymore.

There’s actually a slew of legislation percolating in Congress at the moment, the majority of which has some connection to the idea of pressing Ticketmaster for more transparency on pricing. With all due respect to the august members of the legislative branch of the federal government, though, most consumers who have a problem with Ticketmaster could not care less about that. They don’t want congressmen to simply make one of the things they hate about Ticketmaster more visible. They want it to go away.

“This a win for consumers, in my view, and proof that our crackdown on junk fees has real momentum,” President Biden told reporters on Thursday.  

Don’t forget, though: It was the federal government that also told us that the 2010 merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster would encourage competition and result in lower ticket prices for consumers. But hey, maybe the government is actually right this time.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.