Buying tickets for concerts has become a kind of lottery

(Toronto) Buying tickets to concerts by big names in pop music is increasingly becoming a lottery for their fans.

Posted at 3:27pm

David friend
The Canadian Press

In May, singer Billie Eilish canceled her planned concert at the Bell Center in Montreal. The following month, Canadian star Justin Bieber announced the cancellation of the remainder of his North American tour. A few weeks later, a general blackout on the Rogers network caused the show to be postponed to The Weeknd in Toronto. Most recently, Shawn Mendes played Bieber.

Even though the circumstances are often beyond the performer’s control, audience members who spent a large sum to buy their tickets for a concert that didn’t happen say they feel an enduring frustration.

“Today it’s an investment and we hope it pays off,” says Toronto-based culture journalist Jill Krajewski. It’s like buying a lottery ticket. »

Cancellations and postponements are not a new phenomenon in the entertainment industry. But with ticket prices soaring and inflation galloping, some fans say it takes just one unfortunate experience to stop them returning to a concert, especially one outside their home region.

Tracy Smith has to solve this dilemma the next time she buys tickets.

She had traveled from Atlanta to hear The Weeknd kick off its After Hours till Dawn tour in his hometown. She was patiently waiting in line to enter the amphitheater when she learned the show was canceled due to the Rogers network outage.

“Nobody knew what was going on,” she recalls. The line got longer. »

The two tickets for her and her daughter had cost a total of $800. In addition, there are costs of 2,800 dollars for flight tickets and the hotel room. If the tickets for the concert are refundable, his other expenses will not apply because the concert was canceled on the same day it was presented.

And this is not an isolated case.

Eric Alper, a radio host and publicist, says all of these cancellations aren’t helping an industry trying to recover from the pandemic.

“From a fan point of view, these constant cancellations leave a sour taste in the mouth. You don’t just hear about the cancellation of a concert in Toronto. On the internet, they learn that this is also the case in Barcelona, ​​​​Paris and the United States. It gets into people’s minds. That’s a bigger problem than three or four canceled shows. »

Nicholas Li, associate professor of economics at the Metropolitan University of Toronto, is less convinced developers are running out of trouble

“I feel for the people who have had this experience. You must be angry. If there’s one thing consumers don’t like, it’s insecurity. But the demand is so great that we’re less worried about people being discouraged by the cancellation of an expensive concert. »

Mr. Alper is not so sure.

He suspects that in 2023 we will see one or the other of these trends: people will return in droves to see concerts, or they will show disinterest in uncertain events.

Below is an example of a concert he worked for. All tickets were sold out, but only 70% of buyers showed up to attend.

In 2020, Ticketmaster was denounced for its refusal to reimburse only postponed and not canceled concerts. This decision and the resulting uncertainty did not go down well with some consumers. Mr. Alper fears that this will affect ticket sales in the future.

“For some, the announced new date for a concert will not work. Your financial situation will have changed or you will have lost your job. They would rather have their $1000 back. And it would be fairer if we refund them. »

Show business doesn’t need to tarnish its reputation with new controversies.

Ipsos last week released short-term research that Canadians expect to spend less on cultural entertainment as inflation hits a 39-year high.

According to this survey, 25% of Generation Xers say they limit their cultural activities, compared to 15% of Baby Boomers.

In the face of this great uncertainty, Krakewski says he’s thinking of artists who have to balance the safety of their fans, the interests of their record label and the need to pay their bills.

“They are doing their best at a precarious time to travel, let alone sing in a venue. Everyone rolls the dice and hopes for a good time. We have to be magnanimous when it doesn’t work. »

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