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Wild Bruce Springsteen Ticket Prices Calm Down, but ‘Dynamic Pricing’ Storm Isn’t Over

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Bruce Springsteen ticket prices seem to be cooling off a bit — although that’s relative. On Wednesday, the day his first handful of shows for 2023 went on sale, Ticketmaster was selling its platinum tickets for face-value amounts that went as high as $5,000, before hundreds more fees were tacked on. On Friday, however, with more tour stops going on sale, the highest face value that any of the tickets seemed to be going for, late in the day, was a mere $2,695.

Controversy over, then, right?

Not exactly. Substantial pockets of the Springsteen fan base are still experiencing confusion, at best, and rage, at worst, about the unexpectedly skyrocketing costs of some of his tickets on this tour. Some is the operative word, because there are different kinds of ducats for the artist’s 2023 trek, and many appear to be set at fixed values that go for $60-400 if you manage to get in the online door the very moment it opens in the morning. But what’s quickly left after those are gone are lingering “platinum tickets,” with dynamic pricing that can and has risen 10-fold over the initial value almost instantly. Those inflated prices are what most fans see when they finally break through the queue… and, as this week has shown, what they take screenshots of and post to social media, inflaming outrage.

While anger over ticket prices is nothing new, there may never have been as much ire directed by the masses at a single tour’s pricing as there has been this week. And it seems reasonable to assume that neither Springsteen nor Ticketmaster saw it coming, with variable pricing already having been a fixture of the industry for a few years. Sources say that most of the tickets for the tour have been in a more reasonable price range, but with those all being snapped up in minutes, what most members of the public are seeing is the essentially self-scalped tickets that remain. Without transparency about what percentage of tickets are subject to fluctuating pricing and which aren’t, it hasn’t added up to a great look for a live industry that is still wanting to draw people back out of their homes after the pandemic.

The Springsteen and/or Ticketmaster camps have been said to be drafting a statement that would reflect their view of the situation, but as of Friday evening, none has been forthcoming. That’s left irked fans thinking less about “The Rising” than the risible.

Still, less was being asked for the platinum tickets on Friday than on Wednesday, although it wasn’t clear whether this was due to a cap being set on prices or just the algorithm that supposedly adjusts the variances responding to a less heated number of inquiries. Variety looked at seating charts and ticket prices in several of the cities that went on sale Friday, and what was available at mid-afternoon varied drastically from market to market.

In Greensboro, NC, one of the tour stops that went on sale Friday, a request for a pair of seats from Ticketmaster at mid-afternoon saw 62 offers coming up as first sales from the site. (Resale tickets, which Ticketmaster also offers, were not taken into account.) The average price for a Ticketmaster ticket in Greensboro calculated by Variety from those Friday offers: $903.39, before additional fees.

Of those 62 Greensboro platinum ticket offers, the highest was $2,695 and the lowest was $339. Those were both outliers. Only seven of those 62 pairs were being offered for under $500, and only 10 were going for more than $1,000, leaving most being priced squarely in the high hundreds.

But you could see different extremes looking at two other cities that had just gone on sale earlier in the day, Albany, NY and Denver, Colorado. In Albany at late afternoon, you could call up 109 pairs of platinum tickets, and all but seven were priced under $1,000 a ticket. But in Denver at the same hour, there were only six pairs of remaining tickets available directly through Ticketmaster, and five out of the six were for over $1,000. (Interestingly, besides having few platinum tickets left to purchase, Denver also showed a minimal amount of resale tickets on its seating chart, compared to other cities. Is Colorado an actual bastion of true fans?)

In Mohegan, Ct., you could call up 41 pairs of platinum tickets at day’s end, none a bargain. Only two of the 41 pairs were going for under $1,000 a ticket; six were going for more than $2,000, leaving the majority of remaining available non-resale tickets in the $1,000-2,000 range.

These prices will still strike many fans as beyond the pale, but it’s an improvement over what was being reported Wednesday, when floor seats were being offered by Ticketmaster for upwards of $4,000 and even nosebleed “platinums” were being offered for $700 and up.

Music fans who would like to see an end to variable pricing as a result of this anger aren’t likely to see much satisfaction in that regard. Even if most may not have been very aware of it till now, the system has been controversial going back at least as far as Taylor Swift’s “Reputation” tour in 2018, when Swifties sitting side by side began to realize that the prices they’d paid for their seats varied by hundreds of dollars at time, depending on when they bought in. Proponents of the system might point out that it can work in fans’ favor, too, dropping tickets drastically in the final stretch if demand has been sated.

It’s also worth pointing out that there hasn’t been any evidence that anybody bought a ticket for Springsteen through Ticketmaster for $5,000 or even $4,000 — just that the algorithm was throwing them up at that price point and seeing if anyone bit.

But dynamic pricing represents a still fairly new wrinkle in the live industry, where a sellout can be seen as a bad thing, not something to claim bragging rights about. In this way of thinking, it means you priced your tickets too reasonably and left a lot of money on the table that was picked up by StubHub.

“What did Bruce know and when did he know it?” seems to be a question lingering in fans’ minds, even as they harass Stevie Van Zant and other band members on Twitter for the answers that aren’t coming from the camp. The most reasonable assumption would be that the artist is well aware of dynamic pricing — and he was not afraid of asking premium prices for his one-man Broadway show — but he probably hadn’t considered seeing a 5-grand ask for standard arena tickets becoming a leading meme.

Artists can nix the variable pricing strategy, or put a cap on it, reportedly, though few have publicly done so. One that did was the band Crowded House. In 2020, the group posted a statement saying, “Though it may be common practice on other tours, we in Crowded House do not agree with any premium tickets being sold, as Live Nation describe it, ‘at market driven prices where the price is adjusted according to supply and demand.’ The band had no prior knowledge of these ‘In Demand’ tickets and did not approve this program. Our promoters Live Nation have agreed at our request that any ticket holders who paid more than face value under the ‘In Demand’ program will be reimbursed for additional charges at the point of purchase.” (Live Nation responded, “It is always up to the artist as to how their tickets are priced and sold, especially with In Demand tickets as those are designed to ensure all value is coming back to the artist instead of lining the pockets of scalpers.”)

The house of artists who have joined Neil Finn and company in willfully turning down that extra money? Not so crowded.



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‘White Lotus’ Music Supervisor Explores the Series’ (Mostly) Hawaiian Needle Drops

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Emmy nominee Janet Lopez, the music supervisor for “The White Lotus,” notes that the show’s creator, Mike White, didn’t script any songs.

The idea was to establish the location, which took her into listening to beautiful and important music from Hawaii, that she found through researching the music available from the region’s publishers and record labels.

Lopez’s goal was to thread together a musical journey that resonated with the characters while enhancing the exotic location of the show. “We wanted the music to travel with the emotion in the scene, instead of feeling like pure needle drops on top of it,” she says.

To achieve that, it was down to the show’s editors to connect those moments. Lopez says, “That allowed for flexibility to explore a variety of songs and pursue authentic tracks that were special to Mike.”

Lopez explored some key music selections from the show’s first season for Variety.

“He Hawai’i Au” by the Sunday Manoa

“Like so many songs in ‘The White Lotus,’ this song was a favorite of Mike White. … Everything about this song and the Sunday Manoa is authentic, so having it play beautifully over a new day in Hawaii as our characters wake up to the possibilities was perfect. It was so organic that letting it simmer and play as the source in the lobby is what we did.”

“Hawai’i Aloha” by the Rose Ensemble

“The end of this episode marks the first song use by the Rose Ensemble. Their thoughtful and soulful sound is heard often throughout the season, and playing them over Armond’s internal conflict into Quinn’s (Fred Hechinger) first pure appreciation of nature felt honest and real.

“Their songs just worked and by the end of the season, they too felt like a sort of theme that we were grateful for.”

“Hukia Mai” by APM Music

“A common misconception about production library music is that it’s affordable and therefore not valuable. This is just not true.

“APM Music is a perfect example of how important and credible library songs can be. Kapono Beamer is a beloved and respected, Grammy-nominated and 12-time Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award winner (Hawaii’s premier music award), and along with Mac Prindy and Grahame Roy Maclean, he is a co-writer on the song ‘Hukia Mai.’

“‘Hukia Mai’ was not an alternative to a more expensive song, but rather a proud first pick for what worked best in the scene.”

“Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” (aka “Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, BWV 147:X. Jesu bleibet meine Freude”) by Eugene Ormandy & the Philadelphia Orchestra

“Mike White loved this particular arrangement of Bach’s ‘Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.’ And while it was very different than anything we’d heard in the season, it also felt 100% right.

“In any other show, this could have been a scored moment, but Mike’s vision was spot-on and we used this recording as well as a gorgeous version by the Dominican Sisters over various sequences of Armond unraveling.

“Mike’s openness and exploration for what works is part of the magic and fun in the music.”

“Island Style” by John Cruz

“This song plays over the end credits in the final episode and was an important song for Mike. Its performance by Grammy and Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award-winner John Cruz is genuine and a beautiful final reminder of our show.”



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Niall Horan Reveals Which Harry Styles Hit Is His ‘Favorite Song At the Moment’

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It’s not the same as it was back when One Direction was still together, but Niall Horan is still taking time to support his former bandmates. In a recent rapid-fire Q&A with American Golf, the 28-year-old musician revealed that his current favorite song is one by his onetime co-boyband-star and longtime friend,  “As It Was” by Harry Styles.

Strolling across one of the courses at Northern Ireland’s ISPS Handa world golf invitational, Horan first answered questions about his favorite country to visit — “Australia or Japan” — and his dream group of players in a round of four-ball — “Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, me and my dad.” Then, when interviewer Mia Baker asked the “This Town” singer what his favorite song at the moment is, he took a moment to think before naming Styles’ 10-week Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 smash.

“Ooh, good question, wow,” he said. “I’ll go with Harry’s song, ‘As It Was.’ Great song.”

Horan also revealed that his childhood idol was none other than The Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen. “Bruce Springsteen has always been a hero of mine,” he shared.

And when Baker confessed in whispered tones that she didn’t know who Springsteen is, Horan joked, “You shouldn’t say that much louder.”

The “Our Song” musician has long been an avid golf fan, and even founded a golf management company called Modest! Golf in 2016. Just in July, he attended The Open championship and tweeted congratulations to its winning player, Cam Smith.

Watch Niall Horan talk about Harry Styles’ “As It Was” below:



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‘High School’: Get Your First Look at the TV Adaptation of Tegan & Sara’s Memoir (Exclusive)

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Tegan and Sara’s teenage years serve as the inspiration for Freevee’s all-new, original series, High School, which is adapted from the band’s 2019 memoir by executive producers and co-showrunners Clea DuVall and Laura Kittrell. Ahead of its fall debut, ET has an exclusive first look at the series’ cast, including TikTok personalities Railey and Seazynn Gilliland as Tegan and Sara, respectively. 

In addition to an image of Railey and Seazynn, who are making their TV debuts with the series, ET also got a first look at special guest stars Cobie Smulders and Kyle Bornheimer, who play the twins’ parents Simone and Patrick.

High School, which is also executive produced by Tegan and Sara Quin and Laura Kittrell, as well as Plan B’s Dede Gardner, Carina Sposato and Jeremy Kleiner, is the latest anticipated LGBTQ-centric project about finding your own identity, and how that journey is made even more complicated when you have a twin whose own struggles and path to self-discovery mimics your own. Set against the backdrop of the 1990s’ rave and grunge culture, the dramedy will weave together parallel and discordant memories of two sisters growing up down the hall from each other. 

“This is not, like, a goofy, surface-y show about sisters who fight over clothes. Like, this is our story. It is about identity and it is about depression and it is about drugs and alcohol and it is about sex and it is about homophobia,” Sara told ET, explaining that they wanted the series to “feel sophisticated.” 

High School

When ET last spoke to Sara, she opened up about adapting the memoir for TV and reuniting with DuVall, who they previously collaborated with by contributing original music to her queer Christmas rom-com, Happiest Season.  

“I remember our agent being like, ‘Man, I can see this being a TV show or a movie.’ And we were like, ‘Really, are you sure?’” Sara said, recalling how they never wrote the book with the expressed intention of taking their story to the screen. 

But soon, they realized there was an opportunity to expand queer storytelling on screen. “We don’t see stories like ours told very often,” she said, explaining that “a story about queer teenagers who are not, like, feminized or who are sisters” is very unique. 

As for working with DuVall, who co-writes and directs several episodes of High School, Sara said it made perfect sense to team up with her here. “She’s not just our friend, she’s actually kind of a sibling,” she said, explaining that they’ve spent Christmases together and have been a part of each other’s adult lives for years. 

“After she read the book, she called us and said, ‘Look, I would be honored and humbled if you would let me try to take this material and turn it into a television show,’” Sara recalled.

Now, High School is set to debut on Freevee on Oct. 14. During the network’s presentation at the Television Critics Association’s 2022 Summer Press Tour, the series unveiled its first teaser, giving fans an even closer look at what’s to come.  


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