What the hell is going on with Ticketmaster right now? Earlier this month, the ticket vending behemoth announced an offer for free concert ticket vouchers, which sounded pretty great. Free shows, right? The motivation for the vouchers was less great, as it stemmed from a 2015 settlement over a class action lawsuit alleging that Ticketmaster had overcharged for its tickets for 14 years, from 1999 to 2013.
Even less great? The shows that eligible Dallas fans (and, well, fans everywhere) could expect to get those free vouchers for. Here in Dallas, there were some popular enough options on offer when Ticketmaster first announced the eligible shows last week — shows like Gwen Stefani, Snoop Dogg and Black Sabbath, all of which take place this summer at Gexa Energy Pavilion.
That's all well and good. But then things got weird: Ticketmaster updated their list, removing all the Gexa performances. In their place came a slew of shows at House of Blues, which weren't exactly on a level with those A-listers: in short, a bunch of cover bands. Two days later, Ticketmaster changed their mind again, adding the Gexa shows back to the list of options.
Unraveling this mystery hasn't been very easy, as the line of communication with Ticketmaster itself has been short-circuited. Attempts to reach Ticketmaster last week to find out about the process of selecting eligible shows, and why that list has been repeatedly changed, at first went unanswered, then eventually referred to an FAQ about the settlement for the case, Schlesinger V. Ticketmaster.
Attempts to reach representatives through the involved venues, Gexa and House of Blues (both operated by LiveNation and not Ticketmaster, it should be noted), respectively, went unanswered and led to Ticketmaster Vice President of Communications Catherine Martin, who — you guessed it — referred to another FAQ.
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So much for finding out about the rationale behind the picks, and the odd slew of second-guessing that followed. At this point, the issue appears to be academic: The Ticketmaster site shows that vouchers for all 32 of the eligible Dallas shows have been sold out. Perhaps we underestimated the popularity of Zoso: A Led Zeppelin Tribute?
Dallas could've had it worse, though: Houston only had 22 shows on offer, 10 fewer than Dallas, while Austin didn't have any. (They tried sneaking that one through by combining it with San Antonio, but all seven of the eligible shows were in San Antonio.) Apparently there's just not much going on in the Live Music Capitol of the World.
The question is whether any of this should come as a surprise, and the short answer is, not really. If Ticketmaster were guilty of ripping off their fans for a decade and a half, it only follows that their attempts to make amends would be cursory. If they were tacking on hidden fees to their prices, why would they be transparent about the vouchers?
If that rankles, well, it's exactly why many (usually smaller) venues have switched to ticketing companies like Ticketfly in the first place. Besides, you hadn't expected to get into that Snoop Dogg show for free in the first place, had you?