Fans and artists trying to find solutions for a more fan-friendly ticketing experience may want to look to The Cure.
After the English rock band announced their first U.S. tour in seven years earlier this week, The Cure said Friday that tickets for most of their shows wouldn’t be transferrable, part of an effort to help make sure tickets sell only for face value and that customers won’t pay exorbitant prices from scalpers.
“We want the tour to be affordable for all fans, and we have a very wide (and we think very fair) range of pricing at every show,” The Cure said in a statement on Friday. “Our ticketing partners have agreed to help us stop scalpers from getting in the way; to help minimize resale and keep prices at face value, tickets for this tour will not be transferrable. If something comes up that prevents a fan from being able to use a ticket they have purchased, they will be able to resell it on a face value ticket exchange.”
When The Cure announced the tour on Thursday, they specified that they wouldn’t be selling any platinum or dynamically-priced tickets, which have angered many fans in recent years as the practice has grown more ubiquitous in the industry. Coupled with non-transferability to limit the secondary market, the band has, in theory, cut out the two most common ways consumers take on hefty premiums when trying to buy tickets for highly in-demand concerts.
The band’s policy comes at a time of heightened discussion around the ticketing process. Live Nation Entertainment — which owns the eponymous show promoter as well as ticketing giant Ticketmaster —has faced considerable scrutiny from frustrated fans as well as lawmakers, who’ve questioned whether the company acts as a monopoly in the live music business. They’ve cited issues like high ticket fees and alleged violations of its consent decree from when Live Nation and Ticketmaster merged over a decade ago. Live Nation has repeatedly denied claims and has more recently grown more vocal in pushing for a policy that it said would empower artists while taking strategies away from scalpers. (Secondary ticketing companies like StubHub have called those efforts a misdirection to give Live Nation more control.)
As the band noted, there are some limitations on the non-transferrable policy across the tour; New York, Colorado, and Illinois have laws limiting non-transferability, which The Cure called “laws that protect scalpers.” For those markets, The Cure recommended fans sell tickets on face-value exchanges. The band also called for secondary ticket sellers “to refrain from selling tickets to our shows.” Tickets for the tour haven’t gone on sale yet, but many speculative tickets — tickets the seller doesn’t actually own yet, are currently listed on re-sale sites.
Other artists like Zach Bryan have also enlisted non-transferrable tickets for their tours, hoping to keep tickets in fans’ hands. “I didn’t care about selling out the tour in thirty seconds, I cared about people getting reasonably priced tickets,” Bryan, who publicly spurned Ticketmaster and is partnering with AEG and AXS for his tour, wrote. “We sold all the tickets in 3 waves to actual fans, we hired teams to limit bots, and we sacrificed a lot of personal things to give real people real seats.”
Despite those efforts, tickets remain listed on some secondary platforms, many for hundreds to thousands of dollars. AEG has said any tickets bought on the secondary market for the tour will be considered invalid.