TM Settles Up Jersey

It doesn’t pay to piss off an entire state of Springsteen fans.

Just ask Ticketmaster Entertainment. The company has agreed to settle with the state of New Jersey to resolve thousands of complaints in connection with the Feb. 2 Bruce Springsteen ticketing blunder.

The ticketing giant will pay New Jersey $350,000 for costs accrued during the state’s investigation into the company’s ticket selling practices, as well as make a few concessions to fans who were caught up in the fiasco.

“This settlement swiftly and fairly resolves a significant issue for thousands of loyal Springsteen fans in the Garden State who believe that Ticketmaster tilted the playing field against their efforts to purchase tickets to the May concerts,” New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram said in a statement. “Everyone deserves an equal chance to buy tickets on a primary ticket selling Web site and shouldn’t be steered to a re-selling Web site where the prices can be substantially higher.”

Milgram announced Feb. 23 that TM had agreed to stop linking between Ticketmaster and its subsidiary TicketsNow resale site for all artists in all states.

The agreement builds upon an apology letter TM CEO Irving Azoff issued weeks earlier, after Springsteen flamed the company in a letter on his Web site.

“We will never again link to TicketsNow in a manner that can possibly create any confusion during a high-demand on-sale,” Azoff wrote, adding the company would remove the option to redirect fans to the TicketsNow site without the consent of the artist and the venue.

At the time, Azoff said fans who inadvertently purchased tickets from TicketsNow, mistakenly believing they were purchasing from the initial onsale, would be offered refunds of the difference between the ticket’s purchase price and its face value. It looks like TM’s still holding up that end of the bargain, according to Milgram’s announcement.

The deal also stipulates that Ticketmaster will cease any Internet advertising that may have previously sent people searching for Ticketmaster to the TicketsNow site.

While Milgram is heralding the swift settlement as a big win for fans, it couldn’t hurt TM’s standing either. The move to sweep the New Jersey incident under the rug was followed just a day later by the U.S. Senate Judiciary’s antitrust subcommittee hearing to discuss Ticketmaster’s proposed merger with Live Nation.

See Pollstar‘s coverage of the senate hearing HERE.