By Richard Menta 9/22/08
Cablevision, owner of Madison Square Garden, is not ditching Ticketmaster despite comments by chief executive James Dolan that threw props to Live Nation's new service. I would be happier if Cablevision did dump Ticketmaster. Frankly, I would like to see Ticketmaster broken into a dozen little competing ticket outfits as the abuse that company has hurled upon fans deserves nothing less.
This weekend I caught James at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park with friends. Tickets were $18 each, which if we purchased them at the door that night that's what we would have paid. Usually, that is what I do, but two of my friends were concerned it would sell out and purchased the tickets for all five of us a few weeks before. That meant using Ticketmaster as there is no other option.
Naturally, my ticket cost well above $18. What surprised me is by how much. Below is the final charges for all five tickets copied directly from the Ticketmaster printout they gave me:
Total Face Value of Tickets - $90.00
Convenience Charge - $32.50
The $47.65 Ticketmaster added to the price of those tickets is more that 50% of the face value. They offer no explanation for what the "convenience" or "facility" charges are or why they are so expensive. That's because there is no explanation beyond the word exploitation.
"Excess profits breed ruinous competition", goes the saying. Unless, of course, you can kill off all the competition first. Live Nation's new service is a start, but with only just the two of them dubious fees won't necessarily drop that much. That's why Ticketmaster needs to be shredded into little many stubs.
The government is all so eager to have the Department of Justice sue file sharers for the entertainment industry. Their efforts are more than woefully misdirected.
As for me, I will stay home before I give my money to Ticketmaster again. It's the one power we as consumers ultimately have and more of us need to exercise it. 52.9% in added fees!
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