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    Ridiculous ticket surcharges problematic for bands

    coldplayticket.jpgHow can this be justified? A 38 percent surcharge on a $21 concert ticket. It can't, especially when - as usual - the specifics of these "service charges" never are divulged, writes Recordnet.com.


    This time, it was tickets for a July 27 Glasvegas concert at San Francisco's newly renamed Regency Ballroom (formerly Grand Ballroom). This is a young (one album), very promising band from Glasgow, Scotland, whose self-titled debut is one of the year's best rock records.


    Tickets purchased with a Visa ATM card at a Ticket Master outlet - not online or by phone, where even higher fees can be whomped on you - were $21 each. The surcharge was $8 per ticket, as in 38 percent of the face value. That usury doesn't go to the band. The whole concert ticketing situation has turned into an absurd, almost unfathomable free-for-all. It's a big mess that could lead to a U.S. Justice Department ruling on antitrust issues this year.

    Let's get real here. Why should a young band trying establish itself in the U.S. - and its supporters - have to deal with this kind of gouging? Does it cost any more to process a $5 ticket than a $500 ticket?


    Even a hard-core fan of Coldplay, the now Grammy Award-certified British rock band, had to decline when the price of four tickets to the group's July 13 show at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View came up at $500 on the on-sale date. Now, maybe to compensate, the group are giving away a free live CD to those who attend their shows.


    In these economic times, a lot of people are going to make some increasingly hard choices this summer. San Francisco-based Live Nation made one this week by offering a 2-for-1 deal for Coldplay's July 14 show at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Wheatland.


    Between 10 a.m. Friday and 10 p.m. Sunday, two Coldplay tickets for that date will be sold for the price of one in all seating areas. Tickets are $35.50, $80 and $98 (before surcharges, of course). They're available only at Livenation.com.


    Live Nation also has been promoting "no-service-fee Wednesday," whereby those purchasing a "4 pack" at Shoreline, Sleep Train Amphitheatre and Concord's Sleep Train Pavilion don't pay extra fees.


    Green Day has tried, too, by pricing its tickets as low as $25 and $49.50 for shows at Sacramento's Arco Arena (Aug. 24) and HP Pavilion in San Jose (Aug. 18). The surcharge strain doesn't account for ticket brokers, who still seem to skim off lots of the best seats and peddle them for even more ridiculous prices.



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