For many, concerts are the equivalent of a religious experience. After listening to an artist and bowing at their altar for years, going to see said artist perform live has unmatched spiritual significance. Obtaining tickets for a concert is the gateway to this sacred event, beginning a journey of joy and redemption that only being in the same space as a worshipped artist can bring.
In September 2013, Lesley senior and long-time Kanye West fanatic Emily Kindschy thought that she had found the answer to her prayers. She bought her tickets to the Boston installment of the Yeezus Tour the minute that the rapper tweeted the presale password.
“I left a meeting at my job solely for the purpose of getting the best possible seats the second they went on sale. Once they were purchased I have never felt more excited for any concert in my life.”
For a $402, Kindschy purchased two V.I.P. package tickets which included “premium seating”, a V.I.P. “gift” and a “special edition posted” poster on Ticketmaster.com. Not being able to afford the largest V.I.P. package that includes a “pre-show party”, she opted for the next best thing. The tickets were a 21st birthday present to herself, so she didn’t mind indulging in a pricey package.
Since the tickets were purchased pre-sale, little information about the event or seating arrangements was posted on the website for TD Garden, the show’s venue. The information that the site did have seemed to contradict that of Ticketmaster’s. “I wasn’t sure who to believe,” recalls Kindschy, “I thought that perhaps Ticketmaster was showing a seat map that was specific to the Kanye West concert and that the TD Garden website hadn’t updated it to represent how that particular show would be set up. At the point that I bought the tickets Kanye wasn’t even listed on the website as a performer.”
Despite the initial confusion Kindschy decided to place the seating issue on the backburner until the night of the concert approached, putting her faith in the Ticketmaster seating gods. Cut to November 13th, 5 days before the ascension of Yeezus. Emily decided to remind herself of her seat, when “to my literal horror, the seat map now looked like the one on TD Garden’s website.” Long story short, her seats were in the way, way back.
Devastated and enraged, Emily refused to take her seat sitting down. She declared a Twitter war with Ticketmaster, whom she feels promised her more than they delivered with misleading “V.I.P.” and “premium” titles. On November 12th, she declared via Facebook “I DID NOT spend 400 dollars on presale V.I.P. “premium seating” to be stuck in the very back. I’M STARTING A TWITTER WAR WITH TICKETMASTER FOR RUINING MY 21ST BIRTHDAY GIFT TO MYSELF,” adding “HELLO I’VE WAITED MY WHOLE LIFE TO SEE KANYE WEST AND I DESERVE TO BE IN “PREMIUM SEATING” like it was advertised to me.”
V.I.P. pricing, a sales tactic common in the music industry, allows fans to exchange top dollar for proximity to their musical deities. While artists and managers reap major benefits, some concertgoers argue that they are just “gouging their fanbase” (Sisario 2010). Many believe that fans are essentially overpaying for what they receive and that such pricing arrangements alienate those who lack the funds to get closer to the artists they love.
Since making her Ticketmaster and seating pains public, Emily has received online support and stories from other concertgoers about similar mishaps that resulted in decent seating arrangements after all. She will naturally still be attending Kanye’s concert on November 17th, going into it with lowered expectations and a lingering sense of uncertainty.
“I guess it’s really all up to Yeezus now.”