U2 Ticket Presale Inflames Fans

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1.26.05 - groovevolt.com

Tickets for the North American and European legs of U2's forthcoming Vertigo tour were pre-sold to members of the band's fan club Tuesday morning (January 25); however, instead of looking forward to the kickoff of the tour in San Diego, California, thousands of fans are up in arms over the way in which the presale was conducted after being shut out and they have jammed U2 message boards to express their displeasure.

U2 fans who paid the band's fan club for a membership late last year were told that the membership would allow them to gain priority access to tickets, including the coveted low-priced General Admission tickets that proved so popular on the band's Elevation tour.

The band's organization emailed patrons a personalized password late last week along with links to a page from which fans could choose a specific show. Unfortunately, when fans attempted to link to the page this morning, many were unable to get through.

Though this is far from typical (a fact to which those who have dealt with Ticketmaster in the past can attest), the problems did not end when fans arrived successfully at a purchasing page. Those lucky enough to arrive at a purchasing page discovered quickly that the allotment of coveted GA seats was sold out (in less than one minute for most shows.)

This left those interested in General Admission seats with the option of purchasing more expensive tickets (which ranged from $98 to $165) or waiting for the public on-sale. Those who chose to search for more expensive tickets ran into some problems that have plagued Ticketmaster ever since they began selling tickets online: Passwords that did not work, pages that froze, interminable waits, and transactions that were mysteriously canceled even after the sale appeared to go through.

Even those who purchased tickets successfully reported that there were significant problems with the ticketing system. A number of buyers reported that the Ticketmaster seating charts they consulted during the purchase were changed later in the day and fans who thought they had prime seats next to the stage (at a cost of more than $175 each including service charges) found themselves in the back corner of the arena. Others pointed out that the seats that were offered were often the worst in the house.

U2 fan Emily Worth summarized the feelings of many of supporters of the band. "U2 backed out on a promise to their most loyal fans," she said. "We joined the U2.com fan club under the premise that we would have priority ticket buying. Well, I'm a member of the fan club, but [three] hours after the pre-sale began, I am still ticketless. U2 have clearly not allotted for enough tickets to accommodate the fan club members. This treatment is unethical and has hurt the people that have funded the band's career for the past 25 years."

This ticketing snafu especially distressed those members of the fan club who were previously members of Propaganda, the band's fan club, which handled ticket distribution for years before closing after the conclusion of the last tour. In the past, ticket sales were handled in much the same way that bands like Pearl Jam handle fan-club ticket sales: Prior to public ticket sales, fan club members received a letter listing the forthcoming tour dates. Fans would then check off the show (or shows) they wanted to see and sent in money for the tickets.

For this tour, U2.com took over the fan club and associated presale chores and attempted to use Ticketmaster and Fanfire to coordinate the sale. Longtime fans were especially distressed. On the message boards at interference.com, U2 fan adenoid_hynkel wrote, "The band took a reliable fan-friendly service like Propaganda and replaced it with a poorly-managed company."

And it wasn't just North American fans that were served poorly today. European fans encountered similar problems went tickets went on sale this morning. At the band's official Web site, u2.com, the following message was posted.

European members have been buying tickets since 10am GMT this morning and some fans have let us know that they have experienced some frustrating technical problems.

Ticketmaster have expressed their apologies to fans who were frustrated in the booking process - and are contacting all U2.Com European Members who failed to book their tickets to explain how they can still do this well within the presale window.

"With tickets available at all venues, we are confident that all those affected by the problem today will have been able to purchase tickets." reads the Ticketmaster statement. "Once again Ticketmaster would like to apologise to those affected by the problem today. Ticketmaster is committed to offering the best possible service and we can assure customers that once we became aware of the problem, we took every possible step to ensure a quick and efficient solution."

Fans of the band have reacted loudly and swiftly, bombarding the offices of U2's Principal Management with phone calls and faxes. They have also posted thousands of messages at the interference message boards, with frustration being the predominant emotion. "Is this any way for a band that thanked their fans "for giving us a great life" in their 2001 tour to treat their fan-club members who paid $40?" fan Patrick Farrell asked. "I clicked for 80 minutes, about 800 clicks... and did get [two] terrible seats for $300 only to have the final click at the Ticketmaster.com site on 'Click here to purchase tickets' bring me to a page that said 'Internal service failure. Please try again.'" A frustrated Farrell added, "I love U2 more than anything except God, Family, Friends, and Country. It disgusts me that the band's image is being raked over the coals with their greatest fans due to the sins of Ticketmaster, U2.com, and the promoters who obviously funneled tickets to brokers because actual photos of tickets were on eBay before the presale."

Numerous calls for comment to Ticketmaster and Fanfire were not returned. Callers to Principal Management were directed to contact their PR firm, Code Blue Media. At press time, messages to Code Blue were unanswered.

Copyright © 2005 groovevolt.com. All rights reserved.

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15 Comments

Larry Mullen Jr. is one honest and true gentleman for not only apologizing to fans on the Grammy Awards live on TV, but holding true to his word and giving back fans refunds and fixing the ticket system on U2.com. Kudos Larry! Let's hope they dont have issues like this again (its pretty unprofessional for a band this large to have such outrageous problems via the internet).

I heard/read all about the total disarray that the tickets were sold.Unfortunately, 1st go rounds in just about everything never workout. You're right about Larry Mullen, Jr. for he did'nt have to say or do anything. There is absolutely nothing worse than getting your hopes up on one hand and feeling totally confident all will work out on the other hand. I'm very sorry for what you and all the other fans had to go through.
d.

They should have left Propaganda alone, it worked great for the Elevation tour.

The bigger question should be 'How did all of these web based ticket agencies get the tickets before the fans?' Any search for U2 tickets on the Internet will return a long list of websites offering loads of tickets across N.A. - and at astronomical prices!!! Frankly, it's leagalized scalping - something U2 is against for this very reason. From all appearences, it looks like there's quite a profitable enterprise taking place that rakes in huge profits for those in the game!

I just checked out a website, allevents.com, that must have had 1000 tickets for the shows at Madison Square Garden, starting at $3000. What a crock of crap. Sold out concert?! Yeah the agencies got all the tickets and then rape the rest of us. I can not believe the music industry can't figure out a way to get tickets to the true fans at face value. I do not think this is any different than the problem they had with Napster, and they figured that out.I certainly hope something is done about it, maybe I'll write my Congressperson.....maybe you should too. And how is selling tickets on ebay at outrageous prices any different than scalping? Forget it, it was a rhetorical question because it isn't any different.

In this case, the record labels and promoters have received their money... Do they care about the average Joe? No. The only time record companies care about the little people out here is when they think the little people might somehow be listening to music that said record company hasn't gotten it's slice of royalty on...

That small rant done with, let's not forget -- U2 is a stand up bunch of guys and they actually seem to care a lot about their fans... that's more than can be said of a lot of groups, much less one's with the long lasting popularity of U2...

p.s. Hey Josh.

back in november we purchased tickets for a u2 gig on the 26th june,recently we had a phone call to say the gig had been cancelled & moved to the 27th,after checking a few websites,we discovered there never was i gig on the 26th!!anyone else had this trouble??

Should I consider myself lucky to have tickets for the NY show on Saturday, May 21? Hardly! When I was a Propaganda subscriber, I received 3rd row tickets for Yankee Stadium plus similar seating for other shows. I now find myself in the highest section at almost the opposite end of the stage. U2.com did not reinstate me as a former Propaganda member after several attempts when contacted. Even if they did I probably still would not get better seats. Perhaps I'm getting too old for this and should just stay at home and remember them as they were when true fans were considered and ticket prices weren't so outrageous.

I find it insulting as a long-time u2 fan, to have been offered tickets in section 405 at MSG on 5/21. Why would u2 allow tickets as bad as this to go into the pool for pre-sale to dedicated u2 fans? These guys have been a big part of my music life for over 20 years. I consider this an indication of a band/organization getting so big they forget about the little people who who helped them get to where they are today.

I was at the U2 concert in new Jersey. My $169 ticket had me in the back of the stadium. I got my refund back from the U2 membership but I feel I was still ripped off.

Can anyone tell me how early you should show up at MSG for GA ticket holder admission? I have been told that the "earlier the better" for GA -- but what does that mean -- does anyone have experience in this situation

REM treats their fan club members right. Every time I've gotten fan club tickets for an REM show, I'm always right up front--3rd row or closer. It can clearly be done.

Anyone have the REM fan club contact info? It should be passed on the U2.com team!
We were at the 11/21 MSG show and while I thought the concert was awesome vs. last May, we had to go onto eBay to get the tickets (for $70 bucks!). Although cheaper the seats were just as bad - almost got a nosebleed as we headed to the upper deck of the Garden.
Still never got an answer as to how these 'brokers' (a.k.a. Scalpers) get all of the tickets when there's a 'presale' set up! Don't have to be a genius to figure out what's going on... profit, profit, profit!

very very very disappointed.tryd to get tickets 4 both sydney concerts only 2 find out that 140000 tickets sold out in less than an hour.all i wanted was 4 for me and friends,not to sell 4 a ridiculous price as they are doin.as much as i luv the band,i realy cant afford 2ooo dollars.should be a limit on tickets purchased.if any1 feeln me,dont buy from these peranas,let them keep ther tickets,maybe it will put them out of buisness.and as for tikatek,shuv it in ur @#%&

What an absolute nightmare it was trying to get tickets for sydney's 2 shows. Managed to get tickets in the nose bleed section for 1st show and missed out altogether for the 2nd.Extremley dissapointing considering the no. of good tickets(A reserve) being sold on ebay. How come scalpers seem to be able to get so many good tickets????and before everyone else??

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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on January 26, 2005 4:12 AM.

U2's North American Tour to Begin in California was the previous entry in this blog.

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