Maybe I got out of the wrong side of the bed this morning, or maybe it’s just the disappointment of reading failed attempts at getting tickets in the forums, on Reddit and Toolnavy. But I felt a rant is appropriate. I welcome any comments from Fourtheye readers below!
There is a big problem with ticket sales. The clusterfuck of disappointment for many in today’s sales are nothing new – it happens again and again during concert sales, particularly the large centres and frankly Tool fans are well and truly sick of it.
Yes, there are many well established problems with the way Ticketmaster and Stubhub work. Problems with these providers seem to be hard ones for established acts to avoid. This letter is not about appealing to you to solve these problems (though I expect many Tool fans would be more than happy to see their favorite band stand up to the ticketing agents).
The real problem here is a lack of meaningful presales.
I can’t remember the last time there was a Tool presale that fans were actually happy with.
Tool fans complain a lot – we all know this. But in regards to tours, most of us agree that there are plenty reasons to be aggrieved.
The current system of presales only available to Toolarmy members, and only for $500 VIP tickets is nothing but an affirmation that Tool consider their fans to be cash cows.
Under the current system, you pay $50 per year for the “benefit” of buying $500 VIP passes to concerts. VIP passes which are also available to the public, and in all but the largest of towns (Chicago being the only one sold out at time of writing) have relateively low levels of demand – so long as you don’t leave it until the last minute to buy a VIP pass, Toolarmy membership is not required.
There are no other meaningful benefits of being a Toolarmy member at this time. Sure you get a shirt, a keychain and some other widgets, but I think most fans are not so motivated by yet more merchandise.
I would assert that for $50 per year, it is not unreasonable for fans to expect that presales could include non-VIP tickets. Hell, many of Tool’s peers – Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead for example – run fan presales completely free. No need to pay money to join a club for access to these tickets.
I’m a pretty casual Nine Inch Nails fan – when they last toured here with Queens of the Stone Age, I took the opportunity to purchase tickets via the fanclub presale. The process was refreshingly simple. Visit the appropriate website with a unique presale code, purchase the tickets and then in the week leading up to the event we were sent an email with details on how to collect the ticket. Fans were even allowed inside the venue 15 minutes before the general opening time. A couple of the NIN touring staff manned a desk outside the venue where those who ordered presale tickets picked them up after flashing a suitable ID.
It was dead simple and extremely effective. Admittedly where I live in Adelaide concert tickets generally have low levels of demand, but the same story could be applied to NIN concerts around the globe.
Adam, Justin, Danny and Maynard – have your guys speak to NIN’s management and ask them how they do it. Or give Trent Reznor a call – I’m pretty sure at least Maynard has his number. As a long time supporter of fans rights in music, I have no doubt he can give plenty of guidance on how to run an effective presale.
To be clear about the Tool VIP Experience tickets – I have no problems with these. I hear nothing but good feeback from fans who have attended these sessions (I’d love to do one myself eventually). Keep these kind of fan experiences coming, those who can afford them will take advantage of these, regardless of if they are Toolarmy members or not.
These ticketing issues to me are the biggest problem with Tool at the moment. I actually don’t really care how long Tool take to write records – but when I see Tool fans getting shafted again and again, each and every tour, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth, and I know many of you agree.
Tool, please take some time to do some research, speak to your management and peers, even speak to the fans and fix this problem. When the new album comes out, ticket sales will be in even more demand.
Fourtheye Readers and Tool fans all around the world