The Cure’s Robert Smith ‘sickened’ by Ticketmaster fees

The Cure’s Robert Smith ‘sickened’ by Ticketmaster fees

'Cause boys don't cry…

Unless they’re dealing with Ticketmaster fees, and in that case, everybody is entitled to a proper bawl.

The Cure‘s Robert Smith has said he is “sickened” by high Ticketmaster fees for the band’s upcoming North American tour, after they vowed to keep prices affordable for fans.

Last week the band announced a 30-date tour across the US - their first US tour since 2016 - which is set to kick off on 10 May until 1 July.

Smith said they would keep ticket prices reasonable: “The Cure have agreed all ticket prices, and apart from a few Hollywood Bowl charity seats, there will be no ‘platinum’ or ‘dynamically priced’ tickets on this tour.”

The band also added that tickets would not be “transferable” to minimise “resale and keep prices at face value”. Referring to the ticketing strategy, Smith stated that there were “real problems” with the system and that it wasn’t “perfect”. He did clarify that the band had a “final say” over pricing.

However, after the Verified Fan sale went live yesterday (15 March), fans reported that Ticketmaster fees, including service fee, facility charge and order processing fee, exceeded the price of actual tickets.

Some tickets were as low as $20 (€22) and fans shared screenshots of Ticketmaster shopping baskets showing combined fees that exceeded the cost of a ticket.

Smith has responded by tweeting in his trademark all caps that he was “sickened” by the “ticketmaster ‘fees’ debacle”.

“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 added: “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… x.”

Catherine Powell / 2022 Getty Images - Jim Dyson / Getty Images
Taylor Swift and Robert Smith have both called out Ticketmaster's practices - Catherine Powell / 2022 Getty Images - Jim Dyson / Getty Images

The Cure’s efforts to combat resale ticketing comes after several in-demand tours faced astronomical price increases due to dynamic ticketing and scalpers. Musicians such as Bruce Springsteen and Taylor Swift have used the dynamic pricing system, which has seen individual tickets go for thousands of dollars.

Swift called the situation “excruciating” and said: “I’m not going to make excuses for anyone because we asked them, multiple times, if they could handle this kind of demand and we were assured they could” in a statement posted to Instagram.

Ticketmaster has been under fire for their business practices of late, facing multiple lawsuits, and the “unprecedented” fraud it claims forced them to shut out legitimate ticket holders from a Bad Bunny concert in Mexico City.

The company 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 prevented many of them from securing tickets.

Two groups of Swift fans subsequently sued Ticketmaster over the sales fiasco, alleging that it engaged in “fraud, price-fixing and antitrust violations” and intentionally misled fans.

President Joe Biden recently called on ticketing companies to limit such fees that are added to ticket prices which he said “can easily add hundreds of bucks to a family’s nights out”.

Earlier this week, Ticketmaster told investors that it will be more transparent about extra fees added to tickets after these multiple recent controversies.

President and CEO of Live Nation - Ticketmaster’s parent company - Michael Rapino said to investors on a recent call: “We all want to know what is the true cost to see the show when we start shopping, adding that he wanted transparent pricing to be “mandated tomorrow across the board” which would “relieve a lot of the stress (and) the consumer’s perception that there’s this magical extra fee added on. We’ve got to now go out and do a much better job so policymakers and consumers understand how the business operates.”

Everyone will be eagerly waiting to see what this "much better job" looks like.

In the meantime, The Cure are expected to release their 14th studio album, 'Songs of a Lost World', later this year - their first since '4:13 Dream' in 2008. That should hopefully dry some tears.