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Ticketmaster to Springsteen: 'We sincerely apologize'


Bruce Springsteen has posted a letter of apology his camp has received from Irving Azoff, the CEO of Ticketmaster. It concerns last week's incident in which many fans were unable to log on to Ticketmaster when tickets to some 2009 tour dates went on sale, but were quickly redirected to Ticketmaster's resale site, TicketsNow, where tickets to those shows were being sold at a steep markup.

Springsteen and his management posted their response on his website, calling the relationship between Ticketmaster and TicketsNow "a pure conflict of interest." Complaints from more than 250 fans have prompted the New Jersey attorney general's office to launch an investigation.

"Consumers are questioning what transpired and if they had an equal opportunity to purchase these concert tickets. We share these concerns and are investigating this matter," Atty. Gen. Anne Milgram said.

Azoff has now issued an open letter of apology to Springsteen and his fans, saying that the ticket service "was trying to do the right thing" but "we clearly missed the mark." As a result, Azoff's letter states that "we will never again link to TicketsNow in a manner that can possibly create any confusion during a high-demand on-sale."

The full letter:


While we were genuinely trying to do the right thing for fans in providing more choices when the tickets they requested from the primary on-sale were not available, we clearly missed the mark. Fans are confused and angry, which is the opposite of what we hoped to accomplish. We sincerely apologize to Bruce, his organization and, above all, his fans.

We recognize that we need to change our course. We have committed to Bruce and state publicly here that we have taken down all links for Bruce's shows directing fans from Ticketmaster to TicketsNow. This redirection only occurred as a choice when we could not satisfy fans' specific search request for primary ticket inventory, but to make sure there is no misunderstanding in the future, we also publicly state that we will never again link to TicketsNow in a manner that can possibly create any confusion during a high-demand on-sale. Specifically, we will not present an option to go to TicketsNow from Ticketmaster without the consent of the artist and the venue, both of whom work together to bring the joy of live entertainment to millions of fans.

If any fans inadvertently purchased tickets in the resale marketplace believing in error they were purchasing from the initial on-sale, we will refund the difference between the actual purchase price and the face price of the ticket. (Please don't abuse this good faith gesture -- we did not give brokers any preferential access to tickets.)

We are committed to helping deliver the most transparent and best live entertainment experience to fans. We will do better going forward.


Irving Azoff, CEO, Ticketmaster Entertainment

-- Randy Lewis

Photo: Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (19)

I was KICKED out after being told I had tickets and then redirected to the TicketsNow site when they were sold out on my second try. Where did TicketsNow get all those tickets (and post them) in the minutes between when I was told I had tickets (but not allowed to purchase them) and then told it was sold out? Also, I'm in Los Angeles so it's not just New Jersey where this happened.

The very same thing happened to me in purchasing tickets for the Leonard Cohen concert last month.

I had the website opened, and was refreshing it constantly for 10 minutes before the stated tix sales opened at 9am. My phone was ready on re-dial just in case. Unfortunately, the box office of the venue, only 3 blocks from my home, was not to open until 11am.

The moment arrived and I jumped in to purchase one ticket at 'any' price, 'best available' seating, moving rapidly thru the purchase web pages.

All were sold out!!! I mean less than 3 seconds after the sale began!

I called TM - again all sold. When I asked how that was possible, I got the 'it's a popular item' response, without addressing my skepticism nor specific questions about the online technology. I demanded a complaint be lodged with mgmt.

But I persisted online (while on the phone) - perhaps a ticket in process might be available. At 15 minutes after sales opened, I got a new message on the Ticketmaster site - that some tix may be available at TicketsNow.

There were!!!! At least a dozen blocks of four or more, most out-of-state addresses.

This experience smelled entirely of foul play. How did these people get tickets? And how were they able to mount the sale online at TicketsNow so fast?

And at exhorbitant prices!!! A single $75 seat now offered at $398!!!! (That was low.)
Plus even more outrageous S&H fees than Ticketmaster already charges: $28 from Ohio. (I got it 10 days later by regular mail.)

"Fishy' is not the term for this revelatory experience.

TicketsNow is owned by TM. As far as I am concerned , TicketMaster should be investigated for 'scalping', because that is precisely what they were doing with the tickets entrusted to them for honest public sale. This is clearly a case of fraudulent business practices, and should be reined in by consumer protection laws. And false advertising, gouging, and every other dishonest business practice an industrial or retail corporation would be investigated for.

Hopefully (ha!!!!) relevant government bodies will investigate this commonplace encounter with Ticketmaster's deceitful business model and almost monopolistic hold on the entertainment events industry.

i'm not buying it, i've had the SAME experiences your other posters did up here in the Bay Area; every single time i've tried to buy through Ticketmaster/whatever the hell they're calling it this week, the MINUTE the tix go onsale, all that's left are lousy lawn seats. The FTC needs to start an investigation, and the fans need to start boycotting shows until both Ticketmaster and the artists themselves realize that we're not ALL completely stupid. the artists have a responsibility, since they're the ones making this HUGE deals selling their souls (and our hard earned $$$) to the Devil himself. People like Madonna are signing these contracts with Ticketmaster and Clear Channel for concert tix, merchandizing, recordings, so expect all of those prices to escalate.

Wow, I've had so much trouble with Ticketmaster over the years, I have always felt they cheated. The little guy can never get the tickets he wants. Springsteen is a pretty big fish in the industry, so I don't think we've heard the last of this. I wonder why the big concert people haven't circumvented ticketmaster as they have the traditional music producers in favor of Wal-mart and Target. BTW, tickets for the Dallas Jimmy Buffet concert which go "on-sale" on Monday Feb 9th are already for sale on TicketsNow.

I am so glad this is happening! I have been furious at all the extra charges attached to ticket prices that I skip most shows I want to go to just because I refuse to pay fees that sometimes almost double the ticket price. Convenience charge? What the hell is that, and why is it so high? And why do they charge $2.50 for you to print out your own ticket on your own computer? And how come sometimes you can have the ticket mailed for free, and sometimes you can't? It's such a rip-off and the fans and bands suffer for it. And if they merge with Live Nation, it's just going to be worse. Please, everyone, we must fight back and let our representative know that this is not ok. I don't know how it can be legal to do what they do. whew! Thanks for letting me rant.

At 10:02 on Monday I was told tickets were sold out even though I had logged on to the site as soon as the sale began. Not surprising...but then I was immediately redirected to TicketsNow where tickets were available in all price ranges at severly iinflated prices. I was disgusted and shocked at the blatant corruption of the system. TM was now handling tickets for scalpers and taking a fee for it.

All acts who care about their fans should boycott TicketShyster and the Feds should investigate this type of collusion. Pearl Jam was right many years ago in trying to take TM down it's only gotten worse.

My husband logged on minutes before the 10:00 a.m. start time for the sale of the Bruce Springsteen concert in Los Angeles at the Sports Arena. Just seconds after 10:00 a.m., he tried to purchase four tickets for our family. His wait time was originally stated as being at 3 minutes, but it changed to 11 minutes. Not only do we not understand how you could have a wait time of 3 minutes go up to 11 minutes without someone electronically cutting in line in front of you, imagine our shock and dismay when we were then told that all tickets were sold out after 11 minutes. And just like what is described above, Ticketmaster said the concert was sold out on the left side of the screen, but TicketsNow had an ad on the right side of the screen saying that plenty of tickets were left... starting at $400 and up. The saddest part of all is that Bruce always sings about the working man's plight, and then you have a big corporation scalping tickets to shamelessly make money off fans looking for a little joy and diversion during these tough economic times. Ticketmaster and Tickets Now should be ashamed of themselves.

I was trying to buy tickets for the Bruce show in Boston for my boyfriend as a Valentines Day gift. I had the tickets up on the screen and when I tried to proceed to the next screen I got a message about the TicketMaster server. Now I can't find any affordable tickets and my perfect Valentines Day gift idea is gone! TicketMaster should lower their commission percentage on their TicketsNow website so the tickets can be a bit more affordable.

I also tried to purchase Springsteen concert tickets for the show in Los Angeles. I had my alarm on my phone set for two minutes before 10 a.m. so I could log on to Ticketmaster and do an online purchase. I logged on to Ticketmaster was told it was sold out and redirected to TicketsNow. The tickets that I thought were once affordable tickets were now twice, three or even four times the face value. I was so disappointed -- especially since I took the time to make sure I was available when tickets first went on sale. I am disgusted with this entire experience.

Wow, sounds like severely ticked off people, I hope you get some justice.

Somebody must have software that can buy tickets online (specifically for ticketmaster) and also relist it.
kind of like the software they have for last second buying on ebay, called sniping software.

You want some real laughs? Call Ticketmaster and get to talk to a real person, they don't tell you their last name (I always ask for that and note date and time in case of discrepancies) and refuse to tell you where you are calling. If that doesn't raise any red flags try to frequent venues that don't use Ticketmaster services, good luck they are few and far between (look into Pearl Jam and their famous feud with Tickemaster back in the 1990s). If you purchase tickets at the box office you still have to pay the exorbitant fees TM® charges so they still have their hands out and they still want their cut. TM®'s service charges cost more than tickets used to back in the not too distant past. Why doesn't the U.S. Congress investigate TM® under anti-trust statutes? I'm pretty sure they qualify and their business practices are de facto not legal and are anti-free market..

I've never been a ticketmaster fan ($7 bucks just to print a ticket?), and after a bad experience many, many, many years ago, I have since refused to give them my money. I will go to the venue to get my tickets (if available) and if ticketmaster is the only source, I will not go. They have always been a bunch of crooks in my opinion, and this latest fiasco only further validates my feelings. With the economy the way it is, leave it to ticketmaster to try and get more money out of us and then try and convice us that they were trying to do the best thing for the fans? Mr. Azoff should be a politician

Yes. Ticketmaster is evil and is doing their best to ruin the concert experience for everyone through their greed. I refuse to buy tickets through them and I am willing to miss some good shows to stick to my guns. There are plenty of great shows in smaller venues to go see and not get swindled out of a lot of money buying a ticket.

I wish Pearl Jam had won when they tried to stand up to these greedy jerks. Either way, as a whole, the general population is too weak to actually boycott Ticketmaster and make a difference.

Sleep well, little sheep.

Yes. I signed on at 10:00 a.m. (for the Los Angeles event), and got the countdown window for a "6 minute" wait. I was suddenly kicked off the sight and had to re-sign on to TicketMaster. At that point, the TicketMaster site gave me a 15-minute wait message, and I was redirected to TicketsNow, which was reselling tickets from about $200 up to $800+ for tickets. It's a scam, and I don't believe for a minute that TicketMaster respects an online buyers place in the queue and I don't believe that TicketMaster doesn't give preference to ticket resellers. I bought my extremely expensive tickets from a reseller in Illinois via TicketsNow (and I still feel bad about the deal). It's fishy at best. Besides, I think a lot of fans believe a lot of the "good seats" were already parceled off to radio stations and special promotions. I guess it's supply and demand economics -- business as usual, but it's not right. Maybe, the DOJ will follow-through on this, but the fans still pay in the end.

I tried to get tickets through Ticketmaster to Taylor Swift for my daughters this week during the AmEx pre-sale promotion and another pre-sale promotion for the Staples Center. Nothing but nose-bleed tickets available. After many frustrating screen refreshes, and re-inputting security words over and over again to be offered 1 set of seats at a time, the truth finally dawned on me. Ticketmaster only sells the cheapest, most difficult to sell seats through their own site (if you consider $40, $50 and $60 plus service charges cheap). They give the floor seats and close-in seats to the ticket brokers to sell at higher prices (and then take a cut of those higher prices.) Fine. Really, why shouldn't they? If the market will bear $400 for the floor seats, why shouldn't they sell them at that price? And, if an individual is willing to spend that much, they should be able to sit on the third row. It is the American way.

I just resent the secrecy and being made to jump through hoops to acquire tickets. I resent not being offered all available seats at one time and deciding how much I am willing to spend whatever that price may be including service charges. We live in the age of the internet and complex computer programs that can be built to service thousands of sales at one time. If just don't understand why Ticketmaster has to deal with brokers at all. And, why do they think alienating the customers this way is good for business? And ,the last question, does Taylor Swift/Bruce Springsteen get a cut of the high priced broker tickets? Why do they agree to these contracts if they don't? Why didn't all the artists join Pearl Jam in their efforts years ago? The reason must be money...I just want to understand how it works. Anyone?

It's funny when people post "The FTC needs to start an investigation." That's not going to happen by itself. You and I need to let them know what's going on. Here is the form to submit a consumer complaint: https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/FTC_Wizard.aspx?Lang=en

Here is TicketMaster's corporate contact info that you will need for the form:
Ticketmaster Entertainment, Inc.
8800 West Sunset Boulevard
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Phone: 310-360-3300
Web Site: http://www.ticketmaster.com

I ran into a similar problem buying tickets for a concert in DC (but for a group much less well known than Springsteen). The second tickets were supposed to go on sale to the general public I was filling out the form on Ticketmaster's website and was told none were available. That's just not possible without some funny business going on in the background. I just filled out the FTC complaint form and I feel good about it. Some people that have already commented here have better examples than I do so I hope you will take the next step and actually file a complaint with the FTC. It only takes a few minutes.

Do the comments work on here? I just submitted instructions on how to file a complaint with the FTC but I was redirected back to the article with my comment not posted and no note about what happened. Are they moderated and get approved later? Was my post flagged because it had a URL in it? Terrible usability.

I have been complaining to the AG's of NY and NJ for years about Ticketmaster. They need to be seriously investiagted. Tickets have been posted by the resale brokers almost immediately after the onsale. That kind of timing is almost impossible. Remember the last U2 tour? The best seats for the first leg ALL wound up in the hands of the brokers.
Ticketmaster issued one of their lame apologies to U2 and their fans too. It happened so many times to me I lost count. The AG's need to bring in IT auditors and look at the logs. Once they do that the truth will come out.

No one gives a crap, not even Mr. Sellout himself, Springsteen. Ticketmaster has a monopoly and all you suckers who keep voting for rich white guys made that so. You deserve $1000 ticket prices. You made it this way.


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