Show me the money: student music fans react to ticket convenience charges

By on April 13, 2005

Convenience charges added by online ticketing agencies are making it increasingly harder for some Quinnipiac students to purchase concert tickets. With many artists hitting the road on spring and summer tours, music fans have had enough.

“[Ticketing agencies] make ticket buying much more expensive by charging an $11 service charge and they shouldn’t be allowed to do that,” Bryan Conforti, a sophomore media production major said.

Ticketmaster [] is one of the most commonly used online ticketing services that attach this additional convenience charge. Tickets for an upcoming Kelly Clarkson concert on Ticketmaster’s website are being sold for $39.50, with an additional convenience charge of $8.50 and Elton John tickets can cost up to $83, with a building facility charge of $2 and a convenience charge of $10.30. For college music fans on a budget, these fees certainly add up quickly.

Because many Quinnipiac students admitted they would not pay more than $100 for a concert ticket, even if it was their favorite artist, an online ticketing service like Ticketmaster would not be the best choice. So how can money-conscious college students get good seats at a concert for a reasonable price?

Chris Greenland, who works in the booking office at The Space in Hamden, said his venue does not use an online ticket service because it would “probably make tickets even more expensive.” The Space tries to keep their ticket prices as consistent as possible, to avoid confusion. Usually tickets for concerts cost between $8-15, while more famous acts usually cost a little extra. The venue’s weekly Open Mic Night, however, only costs $3 per person.

The highest price for a ticket so far at The Space was $27 for show held on April 10 featuring folk artist Janis Ian. For Quinnipiac students who said they would not pay more than $100, a $27 ticket marked as “expensive” at The Space should not be a problem.

However, Greenland still receives complaints from ticket buyers about the prices being too high. He compares the money issue to going to see a movie versus going to see a concert.

“You can see four hours of music or 90 minutes of crap,” Greenland said.

Ben Wu, who helps bring acts to the Webster Theater in Hartford, also receives complaints from customers about their ticket prices being too high. Wu gets more complaints than Greenland , however, because the Webster Theater uses an online ticketing service,, while The Space does not.

“People are usually complaining about something. More often it’s services charges from our online and phone order provider,” Wu said.

The most expensive tickets the Webster Theater have sold so far were for the bands 311 and Mudvayne for $30 per person, not including the additional fee charged online. Sometimes hip-hop and Spanish promoters will charge $35 for tickets sold the day of the concert.

The Space and the Webster Theater are smaller venues, so their ticket prices are cheaper than those of larger venues. Ticket prices depend on the size of the venue, the particular seats the tickets are for and the popularity of the artist.

Quinnipiac students wanting to see a concert at a larger venue do not have to count solely on online services to score tickets to a show. It is cheaper and just as easy to call the venue or other ticketing agencies to get the tickets without the extra fee.

Though many Quinnipiac students complained about the hidden charges involved with buying tickets online, not everyone is against the extra fees. Some actually prefer the convenience of buying tickets online, and have never had a problem with it.

“I have used to buy all my concert tickets to date and I’ve never had any complaints or problems,” said Erica Tomney, a junior international business major.

Alejandro Contreras, a sophomore international business major, described buying tickets online as “very helpful, convenient and easy.”

Online ticketing agencies may be convenient, but they are also expensive. For college students on a budget, buying tickets through venues that do not use online ticketing agencies to sell their tickets are just as easy and less expensive.


About Michelle Collins