Buy the ticket, take the ride?
In February, tickets went on sale for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s May 21st concert at New Jersey’s Izod Center. Due to a “glitch” in the system, many fans attempting to purchase tickets online were directed to Ticketmaster’s ticket reselling company, TicketsNow, where the site listed ticket prices for hundreds of dollars above the $65-$95 ticket face value. In the aftermath, Ticketmaster CEO Irving Azoff apologized testified in front of Committees of Congress and apologized for the error. Ultimately, Ticketmaster had to create a wall between its site and TicketsNow, in addition to creating a ticket lottery for fans affected in the February sale.
The situation appeared resolved until one week ago when The Newark Star Ledger published an article titled, “Springsteen withheld best tickets from the public at NJ concert, records show.” Using information obtained through the Open Public Records Act, the newspaper contends, “In all, 2,262 seats were held back from public sale” which “represents about 12 percent of the total [number of seats].” In addition, of the 1,000 closest seats, only 108, or 5% of those, were available for public sale. Citing this information, the Star Ledger, and other news outlets covering this story, placed the blame for the Ticketmaster pricing fiasco directly on Springsteen, claiming his withheld tickets created a price surge.
Because of the recent backlash, Springsteen’s longtime manager, Jon Landau, has posted a 1,100-word letter on Brucepsringsteen.net, outlining Springsteen’s version of events. In the letter, Landau admits, “Yes, we do hold significant numbers of tickets when we play New Jersey, New York, and Los Angeles, as does every arena headliner.” He then qualified his statement by adding, “Unlike some Ticketmaster-managed artists, no tickets are held for high dollar resale on TicketsNow, or through any other means.” Landau further renounced The Star Ledger’s claim, stating, that of “The 2,000 to 3,500 tickets closest to the stage more than 95% of them go to the public.”
Landau’s post primarily seeks to shift the blame for the issues occurring in February back to Ticketmaster and away from The Boss, who has developed his ticket practices over a 30 year career. Landau closes his comments with the statement, “We do get upset when we see fans being taken advantage of. So, when that stuff stops happening we will stop complaining. And when the facts cease to be misrepresented, we will stop explaining.”