Max Tsukino

Update: U2 Manager Guy Oseary Responds To Fans' Concerns Over E+I Tour Pre-sales

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Late Tuesday, U2 manager Guy Oseary sent a formal response to fans' concerns over the band's Experience + Innocence Tour ticket pre-sales process. A group of U2 fans worldwide -- many of whom work on U2 fan sites -- presented those concerns to U2 and its management last Friday in a letter that addressed, among other issues, how pre-sale codes were distributed, how pre-sale tickets were allotted and a perceived lack of transparency over the pre-sale ticketing process.

In order to be transparent with our readers, the fans and fan sites involved in this process present below both our letter to U2/management and Guy Oseary's reply. Both of those are shared in their entirety.

OUR LETTER TO U2/MANAGEMENT

Dear Adam, Bono, Edge and Larry,

We write to you today on behalf of your many fans who are troubled by their experiences during the November 14 and November 15 presales for the 2018 eXPERIENCE and iNNOCENCE Tour.

While we don’t expect you to know the minutiae of what transpired, we feel it is important that you are aware of the aftermath.

For years, one of the most coveted benefits of membership in the official U2 fan club (i.e., a paid subscription to U2.com) has been the access it affords subscribers to ticket presales during touring years. While subscribers know the special presale codes they receive do not guarantee them tickets, they always have understood the codes to guarantee them a shot at buying tickets. In the days leading up to the presales this week, U2.com reassured subscribers they would be “at the front of the queue” and “first in line when it comes to ticketing presales.”

Unfortunately for everyone, that proved not to be entirely true.

Many fans learned (some of them after presales had begun) they would not receive special presale codes, that their subscriptions made them “eligible to receive an invitation” to the “U2.com Subscriber Presale”— i.e., that their subscription effectively only bought them entry to a lottery for the chance to buy tickets. As a result, more than a few subscribers—including decades-long fan club members dating back to the early days of Propaganda—were shut out of the presales and as yet have been unable to purchase tickets for the 2018 tour.

Please understand this goes beyond fans’ disappointed about not getting tickets. Because these developments contradicted information provided by U2.com, many felt blindsided and have expressed dismay about a perceived lack of transparency in the presale process.

There were a number of problematic issues with the presales, all of which we have documented extensively and can make available to you. Most, if not all, relate to actions by Live Nation/U2.com and Ticketmaster. They include:

  • The rescinding of presale access. Many fan club members received emails from “the U2.com team” confirming their registration for the presales and telling them to expect presale codes to arrive by text, only to receive a second email hours later rescinding the first and informing them they would not be receiving an access code (i.e., they would not be able to participate in that presale).
  • Inconsistent, incomplete, and/or contradictory information. In communication with subscribers, the language used to describe presales before they began was imprecise and confusing. At no point leading up to the presales were paid subscribers told (explicitly or otherwise) that they would be entered into a lottery or pool to determine access to ticket presales—a significant change to historical subscription benefits. Subscribers who contacted customer service representatives seeking clarity about the terms of the presales—before, during, and after they took place—received information that was, at best, unsatisfactory. Customer service reps gave different, sometimes contradictory answers to questions, and offered inconsistent resolution options to subscribers.
  • Delays in issuing codes. Some subscribers received their access codes only after presales had begun—in some cases up to 48 hours later—when ticket inventory was depleted, or gone.
  • Confusion about subscription renewals and Verified Fan. Information about ticket presales posted on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 led to much confusion amongst subscribers. The Verified Fan process was introduced but never actually explained to subscribers who were left to their own devices to find information about what it is and why it was being used for presales. Some found having to share personal data as a requirement for presale access off-putting—even more so when, after parting with their data, they were shut out of presales because their access codes never arrived or arrived too late.
  • Ticket allocation. Many fans have raised concerns about the seeming disparity between the ticket limits imposed for U2.com subscriber presales (2 tickets) and those imposed on cardholders in the CITI presale (4 tickets). For example, restricting subscribers to a single pair of tickets makes it nearly impossible for families to see your shows together. Additionally, GA tickets were unavailable for many in the Nov. 15 (“Innocence”) presale, but were available the next day in the CITI presale.

The Verified Fan process has been invoked to keep tickets in the hands of real fans— a noble goal that we support. And yet, when exorbitantly marked-up tickets show up on resale sites anyway—StubHub actually emailed its members with instructions for how to sell their U2 tickets and the show markets with the highest demand—we question its efficacy.

We know that music is a business. You have the absolute right to conduct it in any way you choose. But as U2 fans, we believe we’re more to you than “just” a business. We’re a tribe— your tribe—a community, a church without walls built upon trust and loyalty. You’ve earned ours, and we’ve earned yours over these many years. At the moment, many in our tribe feel mistreated. They are hurting.

We are as sure this was not your intention as we are that you will find a way to correct the system and make it right. We would be happy to collaborate with you to find a resolution. A final word of thanks to Guy Oseary for his recent direct outreach to affected fans. It is greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

AJ (U2Songs.Com)
André Axver (U2Gigs)
Andrew Smith (Interference.com)
Angelo D’Arezzo (U2NewIT/U2360GRADI.IT)
Antoine B. (U2achtung)
Beth Nabi (U2 Tattoo Project)
Brad (U2songs.com)
Claudia Espinosa (U2.com 2004–2015)
Davide (U2start.com)
Don (U2Songs.com)
Christoph Beller (U2tour.de)
Eleonora Pisoni (U2Place.com)
Ezequiel (bit.ly/U2News Argentina)
Fernando (U2Valencia.com & Vertigo Radio)
Gerard (U2start.com)
Harry (U2Songs.com)
Hans Becker (U2tour.de)
Javi (U2Valencia.com & Vertigo Radio)
@bigwave (U2.Com/Zootopia Community Manager)
Joyce (U2start.com)
Jo D. (U2Achtung)
Jose Manuel (U2Valencia.com & Vertigo Radio)
Judith T. (U2Achtung)
Mark Baker (@U2Brothr) María José (U2Valencia.com & Vertigo Radio)
Matt McGee (atu2.com)
Matthias Mühlbradt (U2Gigs)
Matthew Atkin (U2Gigs)
@Max Tsukino (U2.com / Zootopia Community Moderator)
@mich40 (U2.com/Zootopia Community Moderator)
Nicole (U2start.com)
Oliver Zimmer (U2tour.de)
Paul (U2start.com)
Pere (U2Valencia.com & Vertigo Radio)
Raul (U2Valencia.com & Vertigo Radio)
Régis "Clad63" B. (U2achtung)
Remy (U2start.com)
Roberto Robles (u2mexico.com)
Rodrigo (@U2Uruguay)
Sabine Schieweck (U2tour.de)
Sergio (U2start.com)
Sherry Lawrence (atu2.com)
Tassoula K. (atu2.com)
Team of U2EastLink (U2EastLink.com)
Tim (U2start.com)
Tim Neufeld (atu2.com)
Veronica Salazar (U2mexico.com)

The following names have joined in support of the letter, but were not present when the original document was signed?

Carl (U2Songs.com), Pancho (U2Chile.net), Rudy (U2place.com and team), Chris E. (atu2.com)

 

GUY OSEARY'S REPLY

Dear John and everyone that worked on putting together a very helpful overview of thoughts and questions..
thank you for getting in touch with me and the management team, I appreciate this line of communication..
 
As mentioned before, this ‘Verified Fan’ process is about ensuring real fans get tickets and not scalpers or bots. This has never been attempted at such scale. We have learned a lot thru this process.
 
I’m going to try and address the key issues you’ve raised one by one but first up, as you’ve seen, a series of second dates in many North American cities were announced earlier today and any verified subscribers who’ve not yet used their presale codes will be able to enter presales for those shows. More than a few people were frustrated with their experience last week and ended up with no tickets - this is a small compensation, a second chance to enter the presale.
 
Ahead of day 1 of the presale longtime subscribers were sent an email confirming that they were ‘verified’ and this was followed by a text message with the code they needed in order to take part in the presale. It was a smooth process for these people and they got the tickets they wanted. A group of legitimate subscribers got caught up with the emails of some ‘bad actors’ ( ie brokers, scalpers etc) and they received an email rescinding verification. This was down to an algorithm error and as soon as it was discovered these names were researched individually, multiple known brokers removed and then the text message with presale code was sent to this group. Unfortunately because of the time this took, they received their code later and their choice of ticket was reduced in some venues. Since then we’ve reached out individually to several hundred people with information on how they can get the tickets they need and that work continues.
The letter mentions ‘inconsistent, incomplete and/or contradictory information’ and I’ve looked into this. Some subscribers, who contacted Customer Services when their code hadn’t arrived, were told that the Verified Fan programme has a ‘lottery’ element and doesn’t offer a guarantee of participation in the presale. This was erroneous information coming from some CS people who seem to have confused our Verified Fan programme for the e&i tour with those of other artists.There is no lottery element. Once a subscriber has filled out the verification details and the Setup Complete form turns GREEN, the verification process kicks in and as soon as someone is verified they are automatically emailed. Subscribers are sent emails confirming verification status the night before presales begin. Everyone verified gets the presale code, it’s not a lottery.  
As this algorithm was imperfect (see above) more data has now been added to improve it but when someone is flagged in this process as a broker, we will now build in more time for them to be individually reviewed by a real living human being so we can be certain this isn’t flawed information. We want to be absolutely sure the process of verification does not inadvertently eliminate genuine subscribers in the process of eliminating scalpers. If and when genuine subscribers don’t get the verification email and code, they can contact us and we will work to quickly get them a code.
There wasn’t any delay in the issuing of codes, except the group I mentioned above. The Verified ‘experience’ group of longtime subscribers was messaged with codes 2-4 hours before the day 1 presale and the ‘innocence’ group 2-4 hours before the day 2 presale. It’s possible that not everyone realised that in the process of verification, the ‘Setup Complete’ form turning green is when the process of confirmation begins. Only when an email arrives confirming verification is the process complete, triggering the unique code to be sent by text.  Multiple emails explaining the verification process were issued but we’re now explaining this process more clearly in case it was the cause of any confusion.
Finally the letter raises the question of ticket allocation and the U2.com subscriber allocation being two tickets while the CITI presale offered four. Two is what we have always offered when the band are playing indoors in arenas with smaller capacities and what we wanted to do this time was ensure that subscribers were FIRST in line for presales which they have been. Meantime everyone is working tirelessly to reach any subscriber who hasn’t yet got the tickets they were after last week, and with these new shows being added hopefully everyone will be taken care of in the next few days.
 
I really value the wisdom and insight that the group of you have brought to this process and would like to suggest that through John we set up a mechanism so that every so often we can convene around a band-related subject. Maybe we can get your take on a new idea or fans can offer their thoughts/suggestions on a route management might like to consider. It would be good if something positive came out of this - and thanks again for your support for the band.
 
Sincerely, guy
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T 

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How does this all square up with the fact there are already hundreds of tickets for *RESALE* per most shows on TM's own Verified Reseller platform?

Edited by planetary
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I've gotten the same automated response three times for the three inquiries I sent.  Is that what they mean by " Meantime everyone is working tirelessly to reach any subscriber who hasn’t yet got the tickets they were after last week"?

I haven't heard from ANYONE except for these three automated messages.

Edited by TheLoungeFLy

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Unfortunately, the original fan letter didn't mention (or only briefly and to a minor degree) one key additional issue:  That the u2.com presale allotment (I'm not talking about the ticket limit)--that is, the actual number (and quality, if seats) of presale tickets was markedly smaller than in previous tours.  This went beyond the iNNOCENCE folks basically having no chance at GAs--many eXPERIENCE folks couldn't obtain GAs either.  And the presale seats in general were clearly inferior.

That is, there were two major sets of issues/problems:

1)  Folks not getting codes, getting codes late, getting the "oops--you're not verified" thing, etc.  Basically, code screw-ups.  AND

2)  The SIZE and QUALITY of the u2.com presale allotment, which was apparently markedly smaller and inferior to past tours (for both Experience and Innocence groups).  And, as the letter does say, the 2 ticket vs. 4 ticket (for citi folks) ticket limit disparity.

The fan letter to Oseary says a lot about #1; very little about #2 (except regarding the Innocence group).

Edited by mike7man
clarity
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2 minutes ago, enriquediaz said:

 any verified subscribers who’ve not yet used their presale codes will be able to enter presales for those shows. More than a few people were frustrated with their experience last week and ended up with no tickets - this is a small compensation, a second chance to enter the presale.

 

It has been that way for as long as I can recall - this is no compensation at all.

and he doesn't address the deal with Citi in any substantive way.

Thanks for sharing both letters, and while I certainly applaud Guy's willingness to engage with the fan community in this way, his reply is ultimately unsatisfactory.

 

I was one of the subscribers that received the email and then had the oops email, only to get a code days later. U2.com contacted me Friday and when I called back, I was told I would not be getting tickets as I was not on the list....so I’m not sure what he is saying when he says they are trying to reach out to those people and get them tickets. The customer service was horrible. The CS agent was rude and had no information . Communication needs to be dramatically improved! 

While I applaud his taking the time to respond, I’m not very optimistic that they can make this right.

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4 minutes ago, planetary said:

How does this all square up with the fact there are already hundreds of tickets for *RESALE* per most shows on TM's own Verified Reseller platform?

Yep! Exactly. The fact the TM makes another profit on all those tickets is definitely a conflict of interest. 

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I would love it if no tickets were avail on TM or Stubhub and if fans could get access to all the tickets with citi taking the GA tickets or having a higher limit. How can we make that happen?  I thought we needed credit card during 2015 tour

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10 minutes ago, mike7man said:

Unfortunately, the original fan letter didn't mention (or only briefly and to a minor degree) one key addtional issue:  That the u2.com presale allotment (I'm not talking about the ticket limit)--that is, the actual number (and quality, if seats) of presale tickets was markedly smaller than in previous tours.  This went beyond the iNNOCENCE folks basically having no chance at GAs--many eXPERIENCE folks couldn't obtain GAs either.  And the presale seats in general were clearly inferior.

He's right.  Everyone thinks the iNNOCENCE group was the only group that got slighted.  I'm an eXPERIENCE and couldn't get GA tickets.  The next step up was either $100+ obstructed/limited view seats or $300+ tickets.  That's not much of an alternative.  100% of the GA tickets should have been available for eXPERIENCE members and whatever was left goes to everyone else.

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24 minutes ago, Madduxa4 said:

I was one of the subscribers that received the email and then had the oops email, only to get a code days later. U2.com contacted me Friday and when I called back, I was told I would not be getting tickets as I was not on the list....so I’m not sure what he is saying when he says they are trying to reach out to those people and get them tickets. The customer service was horrible. The CS agent was rude and had no information . Communication needs to be dramatically improved! 

While I applaud his taking the time to respond, I’m not very optimistic that they can make this right.

I think they *can* make it right, but they *won't* make it right. They're making too much money off of this. Oseary gave a non-apology.

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11 minutes ago, TheLoungeFLy said:

He's right.  Everyone thinks the iNNOCENCE group was the only group that got slighted.  I'm an eXPERIENCE and couldn't get GA tickets.  The next step up was either $100+ obstructed/limited view seats or $300+ tickets.  That's not much of an alternative.  100% of the GA tickets should have been available for eXPERIENCE members and whatever was left goes to everyone else.

It seems like both eXPERIENCE  and iNNOCENCE group members were not able to get GA tickets, with the exception of a small pool.  I don't know how many GAs are available, but where did they all go?  Were they all sold during one of the presales?

11 minutes ago, TheLoungeFLy said:

He's right.  Everyone thinks the iNNOCENCE group was the only group that got slighted.  I'm an eXPERIENCE and couldn't get GA tickets.  The next step up was either $100+ obstructed/limited view seats or $300+ tickets.  That's not much of an alternative.  100% of the GA tickets should have been available for eXPERIENCE members and whatever was left goes to everyone else.

 

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1 hour ago, Max Tsukino said:

I really value the wisdom and insight that the group of you have brought to this process and would like to suggest that through John we set up a mechanism so that every so often we can convene around a band-related subject. Maybe we can get your take on a new idea or fans can offer their thoughts/suggestions on a route management might like to consider. It would be good if something positive came out of this - and thanks again for your support for the band.
 
Sincerely, guy
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T 

Thank you Max for sharing.  It seems like our issue made it all the way up to Guy.  Assuming that he is a very busy man, would it be foolish to assume that this issue will not likely me solved by him/band mgmt/U.com/TM/LN in time for the round of sales?  My guess is this is probably a more complicated issue that would require some time to fix.  I'll leave that to the experts, but it seems like the solution that has been created is the same as before: presale codes, text messages and emails.

Edited by 504jumper
typo

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Thanks to all of you who took up our cause and continue the fight. 

 

What about  those subscribers who panicked and used their codes on inferior tickets just to make sure we got in the door. Now second shows are announced and our codes are no longer any good. If Guy wants to make it right he can take back these $110 seats behind the stage and give people another shot at the second shows. 

 

Thanks again for for all your efforts. 

Edited by lastrowpurple
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Regarding Guy's comments.... confusing. Here's my story:

I registered and received green SETUP COMPLETE. I received no presale code.. I apparently still am not verified. What more do I need to do help mgt and this programming system know that I AM NOT A BOT. I AM NOT A SCALPER. I am a human being, genuine fan and I DESERVE TO BE VERIFIED. According to Guy the only reason I'm not verified is b/c the system think I'm not human, a broker, or a scalper. This is unacceptable. I've sent several emails to TM and U2.com - what more does it take!! In my case Guys comments below feel very empty and I have little to no trust I will be verified for this round of 2nd shows.

  "Once a subscriber has filled out the verification details and the Setup Complete form turns GREEN, the verification process kicks in and as soon as someone is verified they are automatically emailed. Subscribers are sent emails confirming verification status the night before presales begin. Everyone verified gets the presale code, it’s not a lottery"

 

Edited by ESorensen

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Awesome work by a brilliant group well done guys. So for me it appears that the on the 4 occasions I have called customer service I have been told information that is 100% untrue. Guy says they are working to resolve people in my situation. He doesn't clarify how we should do this  

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52 minutes ago, mike7man said:

Unfortunately, the original fan letter didn't mention (or only briefly and to a minor degree) one key additional issue:  That the u2.com presale allotment (I'm not talking about the ticket limit)--that is, the actual number (and quality, if seats) of presale tickets was markedly smaller than in previous tours.  This went beyond the iNNOCENCE folks basically having no chance at GAs--many eXPERIENCE folks couldn't obtain GAs either.  And the presale seats in general were clearly inferior.

That is, there were two major sets of issues/problems:

1)  Folks not getting codes, getting codes late, getting the "oops--you're not verified" thing, etc.  Basically, code screw-ups.  AND

2)  The SIZE and QUALITY of the u2.com presale allotment, which was apparently markedly smaller and inferior to past tours (for both Experience and Innocence groups).  And, as the letter does say, the 2 ticket vs. 4 ticket (for citi folks) ticket limit disparity.

The fan letter to Oseary says a lot about #1; very little about #2 (except regarding the Innocence group).

Mike7man.....

Yes!!!! absolutely true to everything you have stated. Except......I received all three codes, had a one shot at the citi/U2 presale...had  4 GA tickets, got locked out for 15 mintues & then kicked off. Others had similar experiences as I. I had zero opportunity with U2 presale....I mean ZERO.....to get GA tickets. Only tickets offered was inferior or expensive.....

I think there was a whole host of issues that complicated the process.....like I've never witnessed or experienced before in 34 years being a fan.

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9 minutes ago, ESorensen said:

Regarding Guy's comments.... confusing. Here's my story:

I registered and received green SETUP COMPLETE. I received no presale code.. I apparently still am not verified. What more do I need to do help mgt and this programming system know that I AM NOT A BOT. I AM NOT A SCALPER. I am a human being, genuine fan and I DESERVE TO BE VERIFIED. According to Guy the only reason I'm not verified is b/c the system think I'm not human, a broker, or a scalper. This is unacceptable. I've sent several emails to TM and U2.com - what more does it take!! In my case Guys comments below feel very empty and I have little to no trust I will be verified for this round of 2nd shows.

  "Once a subscriber has filled out the verification details and the Setup Complete form turns GREEN, the verification process kicks in and as soon as someone is verified they are automatically emailed. Subscribers are sent emails confirming verification status the night before presales begin. Everyone verified gets the presale code, it’s not a lottery"

 

i received email,  texted all three codes, green light/box.....confirmation. I never got GA.

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35 minutes ago, 504jumper said:

It seems like both eXPERIENCE  and iNNOCENCE group members were not able to get GA tickets, with the exception of a small pool.  I don't know how many GAs are available, but where did they all go?  Were they all sold during one of the presales?

 

exactly the same experience....

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Big thanks to the those who wrote the letter on the fans behalf. 

It does sound like we're stuck with this system whether we like it or not - tragic

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1 hour ago, lucylindaman said:

And what of paid-up fans who re-upped their membership shortly before the tour announcement and were made to pay another $40 to register for the presales? 

Yes, this aspect bugs the shit out of me as well.....

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1 hour ago, mike7man said:

Unfortunately, the original fan letter didn't mention (or only briefly and to a minor degree) one key additional issue:  That the u2.com presale allotment (I'm not talking about the ticket limit)--that is, the actual number (and quality, if seats) of presale tickets was markedly smaller than in previous tours.  This went beyond the iNNOCENCE folks basically having no chance at GAs--many eXPERIENCE folks couldn't obtain GAs either.  And the presale seats in general were clearly inferior.

That is, there were two major sets of issues/problems:

1)  Folks not getting codes, getting codes late, getting the "oops--you're not verified" thing, etc.  Basically, code screw-ups.  AND

2)  The SIZE and QUALITY of the u2.com presale allotment, which was apparently markedly smaller and inferior to past tours (for both Experience and Innocence groups).  And, as the letter does say, the 2 ticket vs. 4 ticket (for citi folks) ticket limit disparity.

The fan letter to Oseary says a lot about #1; very little about #2 (except regarding the Innocence group).

Exactly what I'm thinking! What is the point of this presale when they don't include a significant allotment of GA's? Too many people claiming to come up with none. I wasn't able to get any. But there were lots of seats up in the rafters at stupid expensive prices. Seems to me they were trying to offload the bad seats on fan club members at top prices. 

And in regards to being able to use unused presale codes for the added dates!? Really?! How is that a benefit? That is what I was expecting and has always been the case. We know they add second dates in some cities and even add in new cities sometimes. Many people hold one or more codes to use when those go on sale. Saying we can use our codes for those new dates isn't some special treatment to make things right. 

For people like me who got my code sent out far to late to be of any use. Guy claims they are reaching out to make things right for those people but I've not heard anything. I'd like GA tickets for MSG or Las Vegas shows but I'm not getting any offers. I'm on the list and have been doing pretty much anything that can be expected.  

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