Monday, March 10, 2008

Metro Drops Ticketmaster For Online Ticket Sales, Chicago Music Fans Rejoice

Let’s pretend you want to go see the upcoming Tapes ‘n Tapes show at Chicago’s esteemed venue, the Metro, on Friday, April 11. You’ve been dreading buying tickets, because you know that the Metro uses Ticketmaster for all their online ticket sales, and spending an extra $8.00 on convenience fees that could have easily been used instead to buy you a meal or a six-pack of beer doesn’t really make you too happy.

Well, cheer up, Chicago music fans, because it was announced last Wednesday on Chicagoist that all Metro and Smart Bar shows are dropping Ticketmaster and using their own online ticketing system instead.

So, the price of a single ticket for that aforementioned Tapes ‘n Tapes show? With Ticketmaster, a $7.00 (or $7.25, depending) convenience charge and a $1.00 building facility fee would have been added onto the $15.00 ticket price, resulting in (at least) a $23.00 ticket! Outrageous! Thankfully, the Metro’s own online ticketing system has cut the fees in half, adding only a $4.83 convenience fee and a state tax of $0.11 onto the original $15.00 ticket, adding up to a $19.94 full price ticket. That’s a grand total of $3.06 that a Tapes ‘n Tapes fan will be able to keep in their pocket and away from the greedy bloodsuckers at Ticketmaster. Hey, that’s almost enough for them to buy a beer at the show!

Unfortunately, Metro sponsored shows that take place at other Chicago venues, such as the Riviera Theatre, Park West, or the Vic Theatre are all still doing their online ticketing business through Ticketmaster. But with the Metro dropping Ticketmaster and smaller Chicago venues such as Logan Square Auditorium and the Empty Bottle choosing to use Ticketweb (owned by Ticketmaster, but a much cheaper alternative), could the end perhaps be closing in on Ticketmaster’s reign over venues?

Although it would be nice to think that Ticketmaster’s days are numbered, things unfortunately don’t work like that. Ticketmaster caters directly to the public at large, and if the average American wants to see Bon Jovi, or buy their kid Hannah Montana tickets they’re going to eagerly type their credit card number into Ticketmaster. Even those of us with a proclivity for the more independent side of the music world are still going to buy tickets from Ticketmaster, even though we really don’t want to. All you have to do is type Ticketmaster’s URL into your browser and see an advertisement for Radiohead’s upcoming tour on their main page to know that Ticketmaster not only has a stronghold on the average American market, but on the independently-minded market as well.

At the very least though, the Metro’s announcement was a step in the right direction, and another victory for Chicago-area show-goers. So, go ahead, Tapes ‘n Tapes fans, spend that $19.94 on a ticket and relish the fact that you still have $3.06 remaining in your bank account. It may not be much, but it is certainly better than nothing at all.

--Anna Deem

1 comment:

alex said...

I think it should be mentioned that Schubas also handles their ticket sales themselves with a very minimal service charge. Although, you don't get a ticket stub which kind of sucks.

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