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Why we won't use TicketMaster again

The common complaint at this year's Comedy Festival, other than people being forced to sign secrecy agreements ;), has been the stunningly low attendances.

We were very lucky to get great turnouts for ILLUSIONARIUM and reasonable numbers for SOMETHING ABOUT NEEDLES & RAZORBLADES, but a lot of the producers have been pointing their fingers at the Ticketmaster ticketing system used by most of the shows.

If you were booking one Ticket to see our show at $14, it would incur a $7.81 + GST Transaction Fee, bring the total up to $21.81 + GST. You can save money (and time) by booking online. Then they only charge you $6.00 + GST per transaction when you use the internet. You choose your event, book your own tickets AND print them out using your own ink and paper... and they still charge you $6.00 + GST for that service.

Of course, this fee is the same no matter how many tickets you buy in the one transaction... so if you were going to buy hundreds of tickets in the one transaction, you'd save a lot of money. Scalpers love it.

We, the producers, also have to pay a Ticketing Fee per ticket. For the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Ticketmaster were kind enough to offer all shows the discounted Ticketing Fee of only $4.33 per ticket. This is a fee we pay to them for the use of their service.

This means, when you buy a $14 ticket to see our show we get $9.67, when you buy a $10 ticket we get $5.67.

Of course, if you pay by credit card you may be charged a fee... we also get charged an additional 1.96% + GST if you pay by Visa, Bankcard or Mastercard, or 2.8% + GST if you use Amex or Diners.

So, if we sold out 100 seats at $10 per head. We get $567. Ticketmaster gets $433 PLUS a minimum of $6 + GST per transaction (say 25 transactions = $150 + GST) plus they get the credit card charges on top of that (from both you, and from us)

In essence, we sell out and get $567 (minus charges for any credit card transactions you made) and they get $598. Seem fair to you?

But that's what we AGREED to.

(No wonder almost 70% of our sales were made at the door, by people who didn't (or couldn't) book in advance.)

What we didn't agree to was:

  • Tickets for the 11am and 2pm shows going off sale at 3pm the day before.
  • People being told shows were cancelled when they were simply full.
  • People being told a show was not on (when it was) and that the rest of the season was cancelled.
  • People being unable to find our shows on Ticketmaster's website because ELLIS was not a keyword (nor was WEBSTER).
  • People having to wait for over 30 minutes on hold to Ticketmaster trying to get through to book tickets over the phone.

Over the next few months you'll see a lot more smaller, cheaper and much more efficient ticketing services opening up. Use them. Maybe it will encourage Ticketmaster to lift their game.

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