After warning fans in a tweet spree earlier this week that Ticketmaster’s “Verified Fan” system was “far from perfect,” The Cure singer Robert Smith continued his Twitter rant on Thursday (March 16) after his band’s 30-date Shows of a Lost World North American tour went on sale.
“I AM AS SICKENED AS YOU ALL ARE BY TODAY’S TICKETMASTER ‘FEES’ DEBACLE,” Smith raged in his latest all-caps broadside against Ticketmaster. “TO BE VERY CLEAR: THE ARTIST HAS NO WAY TO LIMIT THEM. I HAVE BEEN ASKING HOW THEY ARE JUSTIFIED. IF I GET ANYTHING COHERENT BY WAY OF AN ANSWER I WILL LET YOU ALL KNOW.”
Smith’s tweet came as fans complained that despite the band offering reasonably priced tickets for the outing and making sure the tickets will be non-transferable to minimize resale and keep prices at face value, in some cases the added-on service fees, facility charges and order processing fees added up to more than the cost of entry.
By making the tickets non-transferable, scalpers will be unable to purchase tickets and then resell them for a profit since the original owner will have to be present to enter the venue. For fans who purchase tickets but can’t make it to the event, they will be able to resell the ticket on a face-value ticket exchange.
Before the verified fan onsale, Smith assured fans that he was doing everything he could to alleviate ticketing pain points, including avoiding platinum packages and dynamic pricing, referring to those practices as “a bit of a scam.” But when he saw the complaints about the service charges during Thursday’s onsale, the singer did not hold back. At press time, a spokesperson for Ticketmaster had not returned Billboard‘s request for comment.
Following up on his “scam” tweet on Wednesday (March 15), Smith explained, “I HAD A SEPARATE CONVERSATION ABOUT ‘PLATINUM’, TO SEE IF I HAD MISUNDERSTOOD SOMETHING… BUT I HADN’T! IT IS A GREEDY SCAM – AND ALL ARTISTS HAVE THE CHOICE NOT TO PARTICIPATE… IF NO ARTISTS PARTICIPATED, IT WOULD CEASE TO EXIST.”
If nothing else, Smith implored his fans to avoid buying tickets secondhand from scalpers. “I HAVE BEEN TOLD: StubHub has pulled listings in all markets except NY, Chicago, Denver (IE. CITIES IN STATES THAT HAVE LAWS PROTECTING SCALPERS). PLEASE DON’T BUY FROM THE SCALPERS – THERE ARE STILL TICKETS AVAILABLE – IT IS JUST A VERY SLOW PROCESS,” he wrote. “I WILL BE BACK IF I GET ANYTHING SERIOUS ON THE TM FEES… IN THE MEANTIME, I AM COMPELLED TO NOTE DOWN MY OBVIOUS RECURRING ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM THOUGHT… THAT IF NO-ONE BOUGHT FROM SCALPERS… THEN.”
The Cure’s efforts to combat resale ticketing comes after a season of in-demand tours facing astronomical price increases due to dynamic ticketing and scalpers. Ticketmaster is currently facing government inquiries into its handling of the disastrous Taylor Swift Eras Tour presale, which left many fans outraged when service delays and website crashes (caused in part by bots) prevented many of them from securing tickets.
See Smith’s tweets below.