Concert ticket prices were already out of control — but Bad Bunny just took it to an entirely new level of ridiculousness.
Not long after the artist’s “Most Wanted” 2024 tour presale started on Wednesday, fans were criticizing the high ticket prices on social media. Prices for seats in the nosebleeds were $150-$250 on Ticketmaster, depending on the city and before fees, according to people who shared their experience on TikTok. In Miami, a 100-level ticket was $750. Prices for floor seats were even higher, with some reporting $1,000 per ticket. One screenshot from a fan showed tickets starting at $1,482 for floor seats at Barclays Center in New York City. Fans buying tickets in the presale were also required to purchase four tickets at a minimum.
The fiasco follows a trend of rising ticket prices since the pandemic, with more demand after quarantine along with inflation. Taylor Swift’s concert ticket prices weren’t awful until ticket scalpers started inflating the resale prices. Both Beyoncé’s and Drake’s ticket prices were advertised for one price and then skyrocketed due to Ticketmaster’s “dynamic pricing,” which inflates prices based on demand.
This can’t become the new normal. We desperately need a concert revolution and to stand up against corporate greed. Fans need to band together and stop buying tickets when they’re overpriced like this. And many Bad Bunny fans did.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” says Luci Ana Vergara, a TikTok user who decided against getting tickets after seeing the prices. “I think he was overestimating how much his fans would be willing to pay, which me and my friends — no one got tickets. They left the site immediately too.”
She pointed out in another TikTok video that there were plenty of presale-priced tickets still available well after the sale had started — a contrast to presales for Swift, Beyoncé or Drake, which sold out quickly. More affordable tickets in higher tiers were gone, but floor and 100-level tickets were still available, possibly indicating that even scalpers weren’t buying them because of the high prices. She says when she checked back Thursday morning, prices hadn’t dropped and the same amount of tickets were available, which made her think dynamic pricing wasn’t the issue here.
“Normally I’d place blame on Ticketmaster, but I think this is beyond that. This is before the fees and everything,” Vergara said. “They do dynamic pricing where it goes up as people join the queue, but people got these prices as soon as they joined, so it seems like it is Bad Bunny’s team at fault here.”
Bad Bunny’s representative did not respond immediately to a request for comment. A representative of Ticketmaster responded to our query about Bad Bunny’s ticket prices, and directed HuffPost to its site’s explanation of “ticketing truths.” Under a question about who sets the ticket price, Ticketmaster says “the artist team sets face value ticket prices.”
“That’s the way Ticketmaster wants it to be; they want you to blame the artist, and in reality, the artist typically has very little power.”
So is this what concertgoers have to look forward to? Is every major artist that goes on tour going to continue to increase their ticket prices until the average person can’t even attend? Will concerts become events that are only for the rich and privileged?
Some fans have already started to fight back on this trend. Attorney Jennifer Kinder filed a lawsuit against Ticketmaster’s owner Live Nation in December on behalf of 350 Taylor Swift fans who claim they were misled by the company’s price-fixing policies. She says Ticketmaster is most likely to blame, not the artist.
“Let’s say this is Bad Bunny negotiating these prices. This is still a Ticketmaster problem that they’d allow an artist to exploit the people that make his career, and this is the worst part of a corporation and a monopoly,” Kinder told HuffPost. “The consumer gets exploited and what ends up happening is that the only people who can experience art in the U.S. are rich people, because they keep art from you and I.”
Ticketmaster has been in hot water ever since the debacle around Swift’s Eras Tour. Most notably, in January, lawmakers grilled Live Nation’s president, Joe Berchtold, after opening a DOJ-led antitrust investigation into the company last year.
Kinder says the real problem is the lack of ticket transparency from Ticketmaster.
“You really don’t know who you’re buying the ticket from. You don’t know if you’re buying an original presale ticket or if it’s on the resale market because it’s Ticketmaster, and you really never know unless you saw the Bad Bunny contract ... or he came out and said something,” Kinder said.
“That’s the way Ticketmaster wants it to be; they want you to blame the artist, and in reality, the artist typically has very little power,” she said. “They negotiate prices, but what it’s sold at is all determined by Ticketmaster.”
Fans view Ticketmaster as a necessary evil when they want to see their favorite artists perform; it is the world’s largest ticket provider. But let’s not forget that artists have a say in what they’re willing to charge. Artists do have the option to opt out of dynamic ticket pricing, but they rarely do. Swift seemed to, for example, but only after her presale fiasco, and she only spoke out against Ticketmaster after receiving backlash. Artists benefit from the higher ticket prices in the end, after all. On the other hand, some musicians have spoken out about the high cost of touring, with venues and companies taking cuts of merchandise and ticket sales.
Robert Smith of The Cure is one of the few artists who have publicly gone after Ticketmaster for its excessive fees, and he got the company to refund fans earlier this year. Country singer Zach Bryan also boycotted Ticketmaster, but was forced to return to using it for his tour. “One guy can’t change the whole system,” he said of the decision.
Most artists seem to be fine with upholding the current system and seemingly abandoning the fans who got them to where they are today.
Bad Bunny’s tour poster had one line that really stuck out ahead of ticket sales: “If you’re not a real fan, don’t come.”
But the truth is, Bad Bunny and Ticketmaster are making it nearly impossible for his real fans to be able to show up at all.