Ticketmaster/Live Nation finds yet another way to pick your pocket

November 18, 2010

In the months before the two most reviled companies in the concert world decided to join forces in a mega-merger that makes them the Death Star of Live Music, giant national concert promoters Live Nation toyed with thumbing their noses at Ticketmaster’s much-hated, consumer-gouging “convenience fees” with a number of plans that they tested in their mid-sized House of Blues venues.

One involved selling tickets to many of their shed shows at the HOB box office, sans or with greatly reduced service fees. Another was offering “unlimited club shows” with a one-price “club passport,” sort of like the airlines’ frequent flier bonuses.

Now that Ticketmaster/Live Nation are one, the evil entity quietly is pushing a different scam also inspired by the airlines—though this time, it’s those ridiculous extra fees that let you board first or jump to the front of the line at security.

Actually, there are two new schemes, and both tack an extra $15 on to your ticket for select shows at the less-hip-than-ever House of Blues. One is called “Crash the Barricade,” and it allows the purchaser to “enjoy the buffet 2hrs before doors & Skip the GA line!” The other is “Pass the Line,” and it trumpets, “Use this $15 for Food or Merchandise & skip the GA line!”

Since when is the crush to enter a relatively intimate 1,300-person venue so intimidating that it necessitates an extra $15 cost? Beats me. But it’s one more way that Ticketmaster/Live Nation is trying to pick its customers’ pockets.

Falling for either of these ploys and eating the “order processing fee” and $2.50 TicketFast delivery cost (that is, paying for the privilege to print your ticket out on your own home printer) brought the recent $34.51 advertised ticket price for Atreyu to $56.66 and the $32.45 cost for Reel Big Fish to $54.60.

Buyers beware—that is, unless you enjoy paying a premium for pretty much nothing, and/or enriching the Death Star’s evil empire.

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