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
Maybe they really are just the most lazy and apathetic great band to ever exist. They are so tone deaf at EVERYTHING except the actual music.
id say this is pretty on the money. saw sleep and melvins a few weeks back in LA. danny and his entourage walked past the line and it was humorous to hear some of the comments from those waiting (forever) to get in. he clearly has his head up his own ass. as do the other band members. not sure where HB has been but the ticket situation has been shitty forever and there’s never been a real benefit for those that are TA members. it’s curious that HB cites NIN. trent cares and works his ass off. no shitty… Read more »
NIN were the most obvious comparison I thought – they are of the same vintage, have similar levels of popularity and appeal to a very similar set of fans.
NIN do plenty of things “right”, and Tool could learn plenty of lessons from Trent and co.
id say NIN and radiohead are probably the best with regard
to tickets and their fanbase. it’s still
not easy but you at
least have a decent shot via their respective fan clubs.
Nice letter, and points well made. Though would be beneficial to fix a couple cringe worthy grammatical errors, albeit common ones. There vs their in second paragraph and plenty of “reasons”, with an s. I’m not a big fan of grammar Nazis in online forums, though since this letter is a bit more formal it would be nice to clean it up a bit. Thanks to whoever put this together.
Thank you – these typos have been corrected.
NIN’s presale system worked way better even back in 2008 when I saw them – Trent has been ahead of the curve on lot of things, and this is definitely one of them. Unfortunately it seems like Tool has kind of buried their heads in the sand on a lot of things since 10,000 Days came out, probably a bit before then too. I know that they supposedly don’t have a contract that supports them to include streaming access or vinyl pressings for albums, but do you really think that they don’t have enough pull to be able to renegotiate… Read more »
My expectation is that they’ve already tried to renegotiate the contract with the label and never been able to settle on something that suits them both.
And obviously I can’t speak for the band on matters I know nothing about, especially as there are often a lot of fine details that go into legalese for contracts of this particular nature. My perception is that legal matters seem to bog them down more than most bands though – as there are plenty of bands and artists that have remained active in the light of significant legal troubles.
My wife and I recently attended our first VIP package for the band Starset. VIP were $60 each person (not including the GA ticket for the show) The day before the show we got an e-mail on when and where to meetup before the GA doors opened. 25ish of us were lined up outside by the give time, we gave the lady our names and were escorted upstairs to a small lounge area (venue was a 400 max persons) where the band took requests and performed them acoustically (5 songs) then did Q&A with us. We then got a nice… Read more »
The difference is though – who the fuck are Starset?
Fair enough. Prog Rock, produced by Rob Graves of 30 seconds to Mars fame, and opened for Breaking Benjamin (where we first encountered them) perhaps not a genre fit for the audience here, but that wasn’t the point I was relaying.
Very well worded and appropriate Hellboy.
I hope the simple message in your post isn’t missed. We (the Tool fans) aren’t asking you to fix TM, lower the VIP, complete the damn record, etc. etc…..but we are asking for you to find a way to offer pre-sale tickets. It’s something within your control and would speak volumes too many of your diehard loyal fans.
See you in Detroit and Chicago (hopefully twice).
Very well put, and kudos HB. As a huge fan of NIN I also agree that Tool has the resources to pull off the same pre-sales model that Trent (and others) has been doing since 2009. It’s really frustrating as a fan over the years to know I’m pretty much SOL to get decent seats for a Tool show well in advance of tickets going on sale. This past Friday is no different, and quite obnoxious to see 2,300 tickets jacked up on StubHub 10 hours after TM says no more tickets available.
Nice letter. I hope Tool actually read it and, more importantly, act on it. I bought tickets to the Hamilton (Canada) concert. As soon as the tickets became available I pressed “go” on my browser and my phone app. The phone came back with zero tickets but I did get 2 through the website. Unfortunately, they were upper level and behind the stage!!! I bought them, anyway, because I don’t want to miss this show. I checked back and could only find single tickets behind the stage and they were shortly snapped up. It’s very frustrating because tickets were available… Read more »
im fine with HB including whoever cares as it came from us! 🙂 its something that needs addressing. so TA is actually 50 dollars a year for newer members? i had the impression that was the case the 3rd day it opened/when i joined but thats never happened, thankfully. Even back when they did presales for tickets (which wasnt every tour,only a portion of 2002 if i remember correctly) but Canada wasnt included in that and i think the same thing happened in 2007. i know for sure no canadian dates ever had presales. so us canucks got burned on… Read more »
Thank you Hell Boy for such a respectful and thoughtful letter about this grievance. I light of this discussion regarding Tool tickets/concerts I wanted to take a second to tell my story, which echoes your same sentiments. Hopefully someone will read this that has the ability to notify the band/management. I have seen Tool a handful of times. It wasn’t until these more recent shows that I’ve started becoming extremely annoyed by the situation. As a note, I cancelled my Tool Army membership years ago, as I too was not seeing any benefit. That being said, Tool was booked to… Read more »
I’m one of the “lucky” ones who got tickets to Chicago. While I am happy I’m going, I’m pretty upset that they are Section 213, Row S…quite possibly the furthest seats from the stage in the whole arena. While part of me would say “stop complaining you entitled piece of shit, you got tickets”, it is still disappointing that this is what I should expect to get face value tickets to a Tool show. We simply get a chance to buy shitty seats.
I’m sure they are already aware of all these issues, I just hope they fix them. Especially their ToolArmy BS.
if we all tweet it to MJK and/or send it to AJ on facebook it will be read, 100% confident.
I also once sent some questions to the puscifer facebook not too long ago regarding the availability of some puscifer records here, and MJ himself responded.
it shouldn’t be too hard to get the bands attention
My story this morning. Had to work while tickets went on sale. Super cool boss let me have 10 minutes to purchase tickets 🙂 i am attending the Gorge here in my home state of Wa. While i did retrieve my tickets, suffice it to say, i am severely dissappointed in how i obtained them. But its hard to know where the problem lies exactly. I have the ticketmaster app on galaxy note 5. Have used it for other concerts with success. First time with a tool concert. Had app pulled up at 9:58am ready to go, credit card info… Read more »
Just an addendum…
If being a tool army member meant i could participate in a presale, i would jump on that so quickly. Otherwise, there is obviously no reason to be a TA member
I agree with everything said so far but also wanted to point out that if you do decide/have to go the StubHub route keep these tips in mind: 1. Don’t buy immediately – prices normally start high and decrease the longer you wait. You are guaranteed tix when you buy off StubHub and I have bought bought and sold the week of a show before without issues. 2. New tickets can (and do) pop up at any time so keep checking back. The initial batch is normally scalpers as true fans don’t buy tix then immediately upload them to make… Read more »
Apologies for the typos/grammar errors above. Posting via phone and didn’t proof first.
Wish we had an edit button 😉
I don’t mean to ruin the party, but am I the only one who notices that the letter starts out by saying that it’s NOT an appeal to solve the problems, but concludes with a plead to “fix this problem”? Like, what?
Read the letter again. The ”not an appeal” part refers to Ticketmaster, not presales.
I stand corrected –I’m sorry.
While acknowledging they exist, HB is not asking Tool to solve the vendors problems. He is only asking Tool to “solve” Tool’s problem of not doing enough to help their diehard fans avoid having to deal with the vendors and their aforementioned problems. In other words – tickets being extremely difficult to obtain via TM and or extravagantly priced on the secondary markets due to scalping have nothing to do with the fact that Tool is not doing any *internal* pre-sales, fan club sales, etc. save for extravagantly priced VIP tickets. 2 separate problems – 1 easily fixable by the… Read more »
guys, stubhub is super easy to rip off. report ANY issue with your ticket (i.e. bad scan, the venue said that ticket looked altered, ushers wouldn’t allow you to your seat b/c you bought on stubhub, literally ANYTHING), and they will refund you in full (screwing over the scalper in the process). if you want to get super high-tech about it (dripping with sarcasm …), make a copy of one of your tickets (say, two copies of Ticket A), have your buddy enter the show with one of the copies, then you try to go in with the second copy… Read more »