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A look at the Bruce Springsteen $5,000 concert ticket fiasco

How much would you pay to see your favorite artist in concert?

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Bruce Springsteen performing at Fenway Park in Boston in August 2012.

Bruce Springsteen is pictured performing at Fenway Park in Boston in August 2012. Ticket prices for Springsteen’s 2023 tour are causing major controversy among fans.

Michael Dwyer, Associated Press

Bruce Springsteen fans across the country are being put to a test: Just how much would they be willing to pay to see “The Boss” in concert?

Tickets for Springsteen’s 2023 tour went on sale in late July. It’s been six years since he did a string of U.S. shows with his E Street Band, and coming out of pandemic shutdowns, the excitement to see The Boss live in concert is high.

Unfortunately, so are the prices.

As tickets went on sale, fans found some floor seats in the $4,000-$5,000 range on Ticketmaster, Variety reported.

Why are Bruce Springsteen concert tickets so expensive?

The exorbitant pricing stems from “Ticketmaster’s dynamic pricing policy, which uses an algorithm to adjust prices in real time according to supply and demand,” The Washington Post reported. “Dynamic pricing lets artists effectively scalp their own tickets before they even make it to the secondary market. Ticketmaster compares it to airline and hotel pricing, which can change without notice, though Ticketmaster, unlike those businesses, owns almost total market dominance in its field.”

“I had high hopes of seeing Springsteen in the U.S., ideally on the opening night, but thanks to the insanity of the Ticketmaster algorithms I don’t think it’s going to be happening,” Sarfraz Manzoor, a diehard Springsteen fan who inspired the 2019 Sundance breakout hit “Blinded by the Light,” shared on Twitter.

Like Manzoor, longtime fans of Springsteen — who sings of the blue-collar, working class life — are not thrilled, pointing to the growing divide between the artist and the diehard fans who are unable to afford these rising ticket prices, according to The Washington Post.

“Elon Musk was going to buy Twitter but then he decided to buy a pair of Bruce tickets instead,” singer-songwriter John Eddie joked on Twitter.

Perhaps an opinion piece on NJ.com put it most bluntly: “Bruce Springsteen does not care about you.”

“If he did care, the rock icon who recently sold the rights to his publishing catalog for a cool $500 million — and whose concert tours typically rake in around $200 million at the box office — would refuse to work with Ticketmaster, finance the shows himself, buy permits to use unoccupied fields across America and set a ticket price he alone could control,” wrote Bobby Olivier for NJ.com. “He’d call it Brucestock or something and pocket considerably less from the fans who’ve supported him for half a century.”

There’s been a debate as to whether Springsteen was even aware of the prices, and if the blame should fall more on promoters like Ticketmaster or the artist’s management. According to The Washington Post and NJ.com, though, Springsteen likely was familiar with the pricing practice and figured the cost could go up a few hundred dollars — but not in the thousands.

Springsteen’s manager, Jon Landau, ultimately defended the ticket prices.

“In pricing tickets for this tour, we looked carefully at what our peers have been doing,” Landau, said in a statement, according to the Chicago Tribune. “We chose prices that are lower than some and on par with others.

“Regardless of the commentary about a modest number of tickets costing $1,000 or more, our true average ticket price has been in the mid-$200 range,” Landau continued. “I believe that in today’s environment, that is a fair price to see someone universally regarded as among the very greatest artists of his generation.”

What is the average Bruce Springsteen ticket price?

According to Ticketmaster statistics reported to Variety in late July, only 1.3% of tickets sold at the time had gone for more than $1,000. Roughly 88% of tickets had been sold at fixed prices ranging between $59.50 to $399 before service fees.

At that time, the average price of all tickets sold was $262.

Prices are gradually lowering, appearing to max out in the low-to-mid $2,000 range, Variety reported. But with many concert dates yet to be announced, the controversial pricing saga could carry on for a while, according to The Washington Post.

According to a recent study from FinanceBuzz, classic rock is the most expensive music genre to see live, with concertgoers paying an average $119.14 per ticket sold between 2017 and 2021, per Loudwire. That result was in part influenced by the show “Springsteen on Broadway,” which throughout its run had average ticket prices of $496, $506 and $508.

Meanwhile, tickets to Adele’s recently rescheduled Las Vegas residency are going for as high as $41,000 on the ticket reseller platform StubHub, Bloomberg reported.