Friday, February 15, 2008

A Two Tier Service

I've ranted on here about ticket sales for event concerts before, but I'm going to raise the issue again. Logging on to my ticketmaster account this morning, I discovered that at 08:59, there were no tickets whatsoever for REM's show in aid of the ICA at the Royal Albert Hall in March. All information online had stated clearly that tickets were due to go on sale at 9am today. Yet, there had been a presale, which began last Tuesday, for those with a VIP Entertainment Card (whatever the hell that is) and a corresponding password.

This begs the question of who these people are? Are they regular users of Ticketmaster's service such as myself? Probably not, as my email alert stated today as the onsale date. Are they members of REM's fan club? One would at least hope for that much given the costs of membership, something I've always studiously avoided (I don't consider myself an uncritical 'fan' of any band or artist, although Michael Stipe is certainly among my most respected performers). Why was this option not listed on REM's website with the rest of the ticket details?

If I try to book tickets with the public rush and miss out, I don't mind - it's ultimately always going to be a matter of chance. It's also much better now that tickets can be booked online than when one had to battle with constantly engaged phone lines or even camp overnight outside venue box offices (as I remember people doing when Bruce Springsteen played his Ghost of Tom Joad acoustic shows at the Royal Albert Hall). But there were no problems connecting or submitting the booking form this morning - it was simply that there were not any tickets available at any price level from the word go! What I dislike about this is the notion that there is a specific group of people, usually because of one particular corporate sponsor's vested interest, that is deemed more entitled to gain entry to a concert than everyone else. It's also worth pointing out that these presales are confusing, and massively disrespectful to paying audiences. Bjork, Radiohead and Bruce Springsteen concerts have all been recent examples where the pre-sale has been deployed, and audiences are constantly being given conflicting information about where tickets can be purchased from and precisely when they go on sale. This is a frustrating, unnecessarily complicated and unfair process.

Inevitably, there are already numerous tickets for sale on ebay, for vastly inflated prices (into the hundreds of pounds). No doubt moronic Gordon Brown still considers that these people are providing me with a 'service'.

No comments: