Convenience charges to stay — in some way


Ticketmaster Entertainment might be experimenting with eliminating convenience charges for ticket purchases, but "they're not going to die off entirely," a Ticketmaster exec said.

After recently announcing that it has acquired a controlling equity interest in Irving Azoff's Front Line Management Group, Ticketmaster president Sean Moriarty said during Billboard's fifth annual Touring Conference in New York that the company would "experiment" with eliminating add-on fees for some Eagles shows.

But during Wednesday's "Two Tickets to Paradise" panel, Live Nation's Greg Bettinelli said that the eliminated convenience fees still would factor into the overall ticket price. Even so, Ticketmaster exec Joseph Freeman noted that concertgoers likely would be less agitated if the add-on fees didn't appear on their credit card bills.

"I've had so many family and friends tell me over the years that they'll happily pay $100 for a ticket, but the $90 plus $10 drives them bonkers," Freeman said.

While some on the panel agreed that Ticketmaster's paperless ticketing technology is emerging as a potential weapon in artists' efforts to eliminate resellers from the ticket-buying equation, others said the inconvenience of it could potentially be hurtful. Paperless ticketing requires concertgoers to bring the credit card they used to make the transaction, along with a valid photo ID, to the concert.

"Overall, it's going to hurt primary sales," StubHub's Chuck Lavallee said. "Restricting the marketplace is only going to harm the marketplace."

Mitchell Peters is a correspondent for Billboard.