Ticketmaster have reversed on their policy regarding COVID cancellations after meeting the ire of hundreds-of-thousands of customers.
The live events industry has been hit hard by the current situation, with all concerts, shows, and performances cancelled or postponed for the foreseeable future. Whilst we all of course empathise with artists, performers and venues – ticket companies have a reputation for being unfavourable.
Which makes their decisions at this time all the more difficult. Do they try to recoup their business by postponing shows and offering vouchers for future events to respond to the thousands of tickets they’ve sold for now-cancelled shows, surely meeting the angst of ticket-holders who want their money back in these difficult and uncertain times.
Or do they save face with their customers, maintaining or even bolstering their reputation, and offer full refunds for tickets as many are requesting but at the cost of millions or more in their own revenue which will challenge their ability to continue in these uncertain and devoid-of-profit times.
Well the renowned (for many reasons…) ticketing company Ticketmaster have changed tack from the first position to offer refunds. Originally they told fans who had bought tickets for events using their company that unless their show was outright cancelled they couldn’t get a refund. In fact, they sneakily changed their policy so that refunds only applied to cancelled shows.
Roughly 20,000 shows that would have taken place through to July have been postponed rather than cancelled. This left a huge number of ticketholders with tickets they no longer wanted or didn’t know if they could attend with Ticketmaster refusing to refund them.
Of course, people rallied together and, with the backing of members in the U.S. Congress and hundreds of thousands of furious fans, Ticketmaster have announced they will now offer refunds for postponed shows as well. However, the policy hasn’t changed for shows from August 1st for which they want to wait until a nearer date before confirming anything.
Ticketmaster are likely hoping that they’ll avoid the fate that met StubHub earlier this month, who are facing a lawsuit for refusing to refund tickets. Elsewhere, live events companies are rushing to cut costs and recoup their losses with months of inactivity and no business.
Live Nation are looking to cut $250 million in expenses and their CEO has taken a 100% pay cut for the year to help achieve that. It all now depends on just how long these lockdown measures need to remain in place as to what the next moves these businesses take, and if they’re able to survive the fallout of this global pandemic.