Back in February, Newswire reported on Bruce Springsteen's irritation with Ticketmaster over the latter directing ticket-buyers to the Ticketmaster-owned scalp-site TicketsNow mere minutes after tickets to Springsteen's current U.S. tour went on sale. A story posted today on Billboard's site points to a recent article in The Newark Star-Ledger in which Ticketmaster chairman Barry Diller complained that Springsteen's habit of holding seats in front of the stage for friends and family is as much to blame for the scarcity as any "technical mistake" on Ticketmaster's part. Today, Springsteen's manager Jon Landau responded to Diller's charges, noting:
Yes, we do hold significant numbers of tickets when we play New Jersey, New York and Los Angeles, as does every arena headliner. These holds are used by Bruce, his band members, and longtime members of his extended organization, their families and close relations; by the record label for their staff, for reviewers, and for radio stations; by charities who are provided with tickets for fund raising purposes, such as special auctions; for service people who help us on a year-round basis; and for other similar purposes. Unlike some Ticketmaster managed artists, no tickets are held for high dollar resale on TicketsNow, or through any other means.
Where are the Bruce holds? The 2,000 to 3,500 tickets closest to the stage are on the floor and more than 95% of them go to the public, making the basic premise of the Star Ledger headline inaccurate. Secondly, with regard to seats held in the best sections on either side, we always blend guest seats with fan seats so that there are never any sections consisting entirely of guest seats.
In addition, it is well known that we sometimes release a significant number of excellent tickets on the day of the show at the box office, which can only be bought with direct entrance to the venue. It's known as the "drop." Many think that is done on purpose to help combat the scalpers who prey on fans at the last minute. That is a good thought.
Landau also insinuates that Ticketmaster is punishing Springsteen fans because The Boss' tickets are held to under $100, when they could easily sell for more. No response yet from Diller.