Thank you very much for taking the time to click on this post. I hope you'll consider what I write and digest on it. Also, I hope you're all enjoying the new U2 album, I am very much!
Down to business--- Why do features like Verified Fan and Fan Club presales exist? They are sold to us based on the belief that charging high prices for concerts is wrong, and that "true fans" shouldn't have to pay high prices to attend concerts. It is argued that ticket scalpers charge unfair prices for tickets, and the aforementioned intervention resolves this by making it more difficult for scalpers to both obtain and resell their tickets. I want to make two points clear in this post: First, the prices which are sold on the secondary market are in fact "fair." Second, Paperless ticketing, verified fan and Fan Club presales have proven to be ineffective at filtering out only "true fans."
To discuss my first point; Prices on the secondary market are fair.
U2 is obviously a massive band. They have devout hard core base and have no trouble attracting in casuals to enjoy their spectacular shows. A relatively small 24 stop US tour(as of this writing) in 25000 seat venues combined with U2's popularity is bound to create expensive ticket prices. I am reminded of the 2016 World Series in which the Cubs were attempting to win their first World Series in 108 years. For home games at Wrigley Field, Standing Room Only Seats were being sold on the secondary market for ~$1500; their face value was $200. This reveals to us a very important point; the value of tickets is not determine by its face value; the true values of tickets is revealed by the secondary market. I won the ticket lottery and had the fortune of going to those games at face value. I also went to many regular season games. One thing stood out to me that differentiated the crowd at the World Series; no children were in attendance. Mostly everyone who attended was an adult who could truly appreciate the event. Why is this? Likely because the higher price of the secondary market dissuaded casual fans to attend and thus filtered the way more authentic folks to attend the game. Forcing true fans to jump through a bunch of red tape, drop an extra $50 bucks, and spend hours learning how to purchase tickets is time consuming and frankly stressful.
To discuss my second point; Paperless ticketing, Verified Fan and Fan Club Presales have failed at filtering out "true fans."
Did anyone ever bother to look at StubHub for the Joshua Tree Tour? Notice that "paperless" tickets were still being sold in GA. Scalpers had found a work around paperless ticketing the event. I am sure there were multiple ways around it. One way I heard about was using a prepaid debit card and using a fake ID matches the name on the card. Underage folks do similar things to get into bars, it makes sense it works for concerts too. Another complaint with paperless ticketing is that the inability to transfer to ticket to someone else is quite difficult. Because the tickets cannot be transferred and sell out quickly, it commits one to attending an event 5-6 months ahead without full assurance they'll be able to attend. Combining this with the inability/extreme difficult to transfer the ticket just makes life more difficult for folks. Another gripe is that if a middle aged fan who may have fell out of touch with U2 hears about the tour and has a rekindled interest, because he didn't hear about the tour in the two week window before the ticket sale, Ticketmaster's policies force him to be unable obtain a the beast seats in the house ticket for what may have be his favorite album as a youngster.
As for verified fan, I have heard to process was very confusing. I was going to buy another year subscription, but after seeing all the hassle, I am done. I am not going to be Ticketmaster's puppet as they spew me propaganda; they are a monopolistic company and they only care about their profits; which is fine. But the way they lie and act as if they are on my side is sickening. Again, in my case Verified Fan did no verification at all. It only discouraged me from using the system. I rolled my eyes as I laughed at the 4 different presales, and all the accounts that had to be created. Its insane. In my view, the costs of paying for members ship and the time it takes to hop through the red tape is higher than the costs of just buying a ticket on StubHub at market value. I'd rather support a broke student trying to turnover some cash over evil Ticketmaster. Lastly, Fan Club presales. There was a time when the only way to take advantage of this offer was if you were an engaged fan who kept up with rumors and news, enjoyed the community and didn't hop on the bandwagon before a tour was announced. Those days are long gone. The fact that anyone can become a verified fan at the checkout at Ticketmaster.com has convinced me its just a way to get another $50 out of us.
If Ticketmaster wants to sell U2 tickets below market value and forgo profits, that perfectly fine! However, when Ticketmaster/U2 create a bunch of frustrating red that ultimately fails in achieving its goals, and instead just wastes the precious time of the fans it claims to protect I feel compelled to writing an opinion about it. I suppose the basis in this post in the irony that Ticketmaster points the fingers at scalpers and claims they are villains. The way I see it, Ticketmaster is the villain.
I will not be renewing my U2.com subscription. I do plan on attending the shows, but I will wait a month or two for the full shows to be announced and choose from the selection there on the secondary market. Songs of Experience has proven phenomenal album, and I think that it will be very special to hear it live.
I hope everyone has a good day! if you've read all of this, I thank you for devoting some of your time towards reading this post. I hope you found it at the very least engaging.