TM’s Half-In Ticketing

Ticketmaster has been hinting at all-in pricing for some time, and the company has finally made the leap – sort of.

Live Nation / Ticketmaster chairman Irving Azoff recently broke the news on Twitter, announcing “new TM full disclosure pricing!” along with a link to a TM page for an upcoming Carrie Underwood performance at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Fla.

But while the company managed to break out some of the price details up front for a ticket including convenience and facility fees, it still failed to disclose order processing and TicketFast delivery fees for the Underwood show, which appeared at the end of the transaction.

With the Internet all atwitter over the news, TM CEO Nathan Hubbard followed up Azoff’s 140-character explanation with a slightly more in-depth missive on a new Ticketmaster blog, Ticketology.

It appears that through research and conversations with fans, the company came to a simple conclusion – that the way it presents service fees in the checkout process is a “huge frustration” and “hurts ticket sales.”

“This practice changes today,” Hubbard wrote. “Over the next few days we are rolling out a new way of presenting pricing and fees on Going forward, just like almost every other business in the world, we’ll tell you up front how much you can expect to pay for a certain ticket. We’ll still break out the ‘face value’ from the other fees where required, and we haven’t broken down per-order fees yet (although you will begin to see many of our clients move to truly all-in pricing, because they know it sells more tickets and makes you happier).

“This user experience mirrors what you see across the web from leaders in their field – Amazon, Apple, Expedia, Zappos and more. It’s not complicated, it’s just the right thing to do.”

Still, TM hasn’t managed to get all its clients aboard with the new policy just yet. Hubbard said that some events will continue to be listed on Ticketmaster with the old pricing presentation because “in a select few cases our contracts with venues prevent us from making this change. We’re working with these clients to help them see the benefits and are confident they’ll want to join in!”

Azoff didn’t seem so certain, responding to a question from industry commentator Bob Lefsetz that “since acts, promoters and venues are fighting full disclosure all-in pricing that consumers want, TM is unilaterally doing this. Needless to say a major promoter has already written to us demanding we stop.”

Time will tell whether clients will embrace another of the company’s changes – a new return policy. Along with the new pricing disclosures, TM will now permit fans to return tickets within three days after making a purchase and up to one week before an event.

“We hope that at a minimum it encourages you to go ahead and buy those tickets, knowing that if your plans suddenly change, or one of your friends bails out the next day, you can return what you need to within three days worry-free,” Hubbard wrote, adding that the company will keep close watch to ensure brokers aren’t exploiting the new policy.