Bruce Springsteen addresses $5,000 ticket pricing controversy
Bruce Springsteen is finally walking fans through a controversial process where Ticketmaster used so-called "dynamic pricing" for his 2023 reunion tour with the E Street Band. Reports followed of exorbitant ticket costs which exceeded $5,000.
"What I do is a very simple thing," Springsteen told Rolling Stone. "I tell my guys, 'Go out and see what everybody else is doing. Let’s charge a little less.' That’s generally the directions. They go out and set it up. For the past 49 years or however long we’ve been playing, we’ve pretty much been out there under market value. I’ve enjoyed that. It’s been great for the fans.
"This time I told them, 'Hey, we’re 73 years old. The guys are there. I want to do what everybody else is doing, my peers,'" Springsteen added. "So that’s what happened. That’s what they did."
As its name suggests, dynamic pricing adjusts the cost of tickets in real time based on supply and demand. Costs eventually went through the roof for Springsteen's first shows with his longtime group in six years. Some fans were left furious and disenchanted, and New Jersey Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. went so far as to craft an excoriating letter to Ticketmaster calling for reform.
Springsteen admitted that "ticket buying has gotten very confusing, not just for the fans but for the artists also," but he insisted that "most of our tickets are totally affordable." Besides, scalpers will always exist: "The ticket broker or someone is going to be taking that money. I’m going, 'Hey, why shouldn’t that money go to the guys that are going to be up there sweating three hours a night for it?'"
He said he didn't like being "the poster boy for high ticket prices. It’s the last thing you prefer to be, but that’s how it went. You have to own the decisions you have made and go out and just continue to do your best."
Springsteen released released a soul covers album, Only the Strong Survive. Announced dates for this tour begin in February in the U.S. and then continue into the summer across Europe.
Whether dynamic pricing will be implemented again on subsequent dates is still an open question. "I think in the future, we’ll be talking about it, of course," Springsteen said. "It changes from tour to tour. We will be coming back. I’m sure we’ll be playing outside somewhat. That’ll be a whole other discussion when that comes around. I don’t want to say anything now, but we’ll see what happens."
Springsteen remains confident that he and his E Street cohorts will make every show worthwhile, despite the ticketing controversy. "I know it was unpopular with some fans," he argued, "but if there’s any complaints on the way out, you can have your money back."
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