If you are a frequent event attender like myself, you have probably gotten a handful of emails with the subject line “Schlesinger v. Ticketmaster Settlement.” This was a class-action lawsuit where someone actually took ticket monopoly Ticketmaster on and sued them for all their excessive and deceptive “processing” fees.
For once, the good guys won and anyone who ordered tickets between October 21, 1999 and February 27, 2013 can benefit from the lawsuit. The problem is very much on how the settlement payout is being distributed, which feels very much on Ticketmaster’s terms.
- For each transaction you get a measly $2.25 coupon code per transaction you made up to 17 (for myself, I had the full 17 equaling $38.25).
- Depending on your past transactions and whether you had tickets shipped, you could also receive $5 UPS discount code for sending tickets, which is largely useless since most people just do print-at-home or mobile tickets these days.
- The biggest win appears to be the $5M in free tickets that Ticketmaster is distributing to customers, which again, you can get up to 17. I got 17 of these free general admission tickets, but the problem is Ticketmaster is calling the shots on which shows it applies to.
The first round of shows the free tickets applied to was released in mid-June, but turned out to be a who’s who of who you don’t want to see. Most cities didn’t even get shows, and the ones that did, only had shows included at big outdoor amphitheaters like the Hollywood Casino Amphitheater in Tinley Park, IL or the Klipsch Music Center in Noblesville, IN, venues that get washed-up legacy acts (Def Leppard, Heart, Hall & Oates, Rob Thomas), mainstream country (which is great if you are a country fan, but not helpful if you aren’t), or just straight-up bad 90’s rock acts (Buckcherry, Slipknot, Korn, Rob Thomas). The only consistency seems to be that these are shows that are super unlikely to sell out (so not really affecting Ticketmaster’s bottom line), and Ticketmaster is only giving away a handful of free tickets for each show.
Here’s Stephen Colbert speaking about how lame the options are:
Even at this moment, all of the shows listed are sold out of vouchers, meaning if you want to use your free vouchers, you have to continually check back this website (http://concerts.livenation.com/microsite/settlement) and just hope a show comes up that you actually want to go to AND it isn’t already sold out of vouchers.
Also when it comes to the $2.25 coupon code, this is such a small amount that Ticketmaster has to be thinking this just incentivizes customers to use and buy tickets on Ticketmaster with very little effect on their profit.
So while I’m glad someone actually stuck it to Ticketmaster, it still seems like the music fan barely benefits from this. Fortunately, it seems like there has been a ton of improvement and additional competition over the past few years, with many smaller venues handling their own ticket sales through their websites, other sites like Ticketfly and Brown Paper Tickets taking off, and secondary market sites like Seatgeek reaching new heights. I used to be stuck using Ticketmaster for purchases 3-5 times a year, and thank the Lord, I can’t tell you the last time I had to use Ticketmaster. There is hope for a better ticket world yet.