We are in new territory, coronavirus has taken the entertainment industry and turned it upside down with shutting down festivals and concerts of all genres. With all the craziness that is announcing cancellations before overzealous fans leak the news, rescheduling lineups for new dates that even NOW might still not make the cut and so much more event organizers are being put on the spot for how they are handling these changes. For so long we always heard the whole “rain or shine will perform, no refunds” all that good stuff. Does a worldwide pandemic that has shut down governments and major institutions a good enough reason to maybe, I don’t know, give fans the options to get their money back? Well, Ticketmaster and Live Nation are getting their hand slapped for this one, not offering fans an option to get a refund on their tickets.
Ticketmaster was keeping their plan on how to roll out refunds to ticket holders but with their silence, the conversation was taken to the media and critics of the company ran in full force, including Congress members like Katie Porter (D-CA) & Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) who felt the company was taking advantage of their customers by not offering them refunds. After being served a letter strongly pressuring Ticketmaster and Live Nation to offer their ticket holders refunds, the company responded back by providing a picture of what that relief plan is going to be. As of now, the plan is to offer all customers who have tickets for shows dated May 1, 2020, and on will receive an email with 30 days to get a refund or their ticket will be honored at the rescheduled show. This effort should cover events that fall between now and the end of July. Events being held in August and on will be addressed at a later date. The hope being these gatherings will be able to go on. On top of that customers will also be offered the following:
“For cancelled shows fans can choose to receive up to 150% of their ticket value as Concert Cash, and for rescheduled shows they will receive Concert Cash once they attend the new date,” a statement from Live Nation reads. “Those looking for ways to give back can opt to donate their tickets to health care workers through Live Nation’s expanded Hero Nation program. And anyone who needs or wants their money back will have the option to get a full refund within 30 days once a show has been canceled or new dates have been finalized.”
The criticism is not being taken lightly. Live Nation felt that they were doing what they could do for their fans and staff. Major pay cuts were taken in an effort to not make any layoffs and started a $10 million fund to help support road crews who found themselves out of work and have been working around the clock via satellite to assist artists and organizers with rescheduling and taking action. Clients, from what a source tells Billboard, are the ones that have the ultimate say on refunds and exchanges however they will encourage their clients to follow refund guidelines that have been suggested. What Ticketmaster is trying to avoid is having ticket scalper problems, “dumping large blocks of tickets days before a show because the tickets weren’t fetching a high retail price.”