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There’s A Reason Blink-182 Tickets Are So Expensive & You Can Blame Ticketmaster

The artists aren't innocent, either.

MTL Blog, Associate Editor
A concert at the Bell Centre.​

A concert at the Bell Centre.

Your favourite artist is on tour and announces they're stopping in Montreal. You excitedly open Ticketmaster… but any seat you'd actually want costs an arm and a leg. You can either sell a body part for quick cash, pick a seat furthest from the stage or take to social media to complain.

Many Montrealers opt for the latter, and they're not alone. A lot of Canadian show-goers are openly pissed that concerts by the biggest stars seem to cost way more now than in years past. That's all thanks to dynamic pricing.

It turns out the algorithm-controlled cost model behind the dreaded Uber surge pricing is also behind why you can't afford the tickets to that Bell Centre concert you wanted to catch.

Instinctively, you might blame the venue, Ticketmaster or capitalism for standing in your way. You wouldn't be wrong, but you should know that your favourite artist (or band) has likely not only embraced the dynamic pricing model but is actually part of why the prices are out of your budget.

"Like sports teams, artist representatives and promoters recognize the benefit of pricing tickets closer to market value," Ticketmaster wrote in a September release, likely responding to the volley of online hate over $4,000 Bruce Springsteen tickets at some U.S. venues earlier this year.

"Promoters and artist representatives set pricing strategy and price range parameters on all tickets, including fixed and market-based price points," the seller said. "When there are far more people who want to attend an event than there are tickets available, prices go up."

While the "market-based" strategy relies on supply and demand, making prices fluctuate, the starting and ending cost of tickets comes down to artists and their reps.

A-list performers like Harry Styles, Taylor Swift and even Blink-182 are all on board — the latter prompting Montreal punk venue Turbo Haüs to take action and host a free event.

Ticketmaster is, of course, more than happy to oblige. The broker can add fees that reflect over 75% of the ticket price that get split with artists and venues, as John Oliver detailed on one episode of "Last Week Tonight." The seller has also been known to straight-up withhold tickets to keep demand high.

Some industry experts argue the trend is inevitable and even opens the door to other ways of enjoying shows.

"Ticketmaster is just the method. We’ve seen dynamic pricing for decades – airlines, sports, stocks, so it’s not a surprise an in-demand, low amount of product like tickets has gone this way," Canadian Music Publicist Eric Alper told MTL Blog.

"I do think there will be an uptick in artist opportunities to perform exclusive concerts to be shown in movie theatres, YouTube, Twitch, and other subscription-based models for all to attend," he said.

Even if large-scale online concerts and VR-based festivals are the way of the future, you can always choose to support local up-and-comers on stage, and in person, for a lot less.

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