Ticketmaster’s “Official Platinum” tickets have become a controversial topic among concertgoers and music fans. These dynamically priced tickets are intended to give fans access to high-demand events, but some believe their pricing methods are unfair or misleading. In this article, we’ll examine what Official Platinum tickets are, how they work, and whether they can be considered “legit” options for fans hoping to see their favorite artists live.
What are Official Platinum tickets?
Official Platinum tickets are a type of ticket offered directly through Ticketmaster for high-demand events where demand greatly exceeds supply. According to Ticketmaster, Official Platinum tickets are intended to give fans fair and safe access to events when tickets sell out quickly or when prices are high on secondary resale sites.
Here are some key things to know about Official Platinum tickets:
- They are an official ticket option offered directly by Ticketmaster, not resellers.
- Prices fluctuate based on demand, but all tickets are sold for at least the original ticket price.
- Tickets are available right up until show time.
- Buyers can shop for Platinum seats alongside other ticket options like General Admission, VIP packages, etc.
- These tickets cannot be resold; Ticketmaster voids Platinum tickets if they appear on secondary markets.
The main unique aspect of Platinum tickets is their dynamic pricing. Ticketmaster uses an algorithm that adjusts prices for Platinum seats based on demand leading up to the event. As an event gains popularity or inventory decreases, Platinum ticket prices increase.
How does dynamic pricing work?
Ticketmaster states that pricing for Official Platinum tickets adjusts according to both consumer demand and supply. As an event gains momentum and attracts more interest, Platinum ticket prices will rise to reflect that demand. Likewise, as availability decreases leading up to an event, remaining tickets may be repriced higher due to their increasing scarcity.
Some key factors that can influence Platinum ticket pricing include:
- Initial on-sale demand and early sales momentum
- Current ticket availability as total inventory decreases
- Time until the event occurs
- Market-based factors like local event interest and resale ticket prices
Ticketmaster’s algorithm takes these types of factors into account when setting and adjusting Platinum ticket prices. The starting price is set by the artist’s representatives, and Ticketmaster states Platinum tickets will never be priced below their original face value.
Here is an example of how pricing could evolve for a hypothetical concert:
|Platinum Ticket Price
|On-sale date 3 months out
|Tickets initially selling well
|6 weeks out
|Buzz increases, 75% of tickets sold
|3 weeks out
|Show sells out, high resale demand
|Night before event
|Last-minute tickets available
While fans may see significant price fluctuations, Ticketmaster states Platinum tickets are priced according to consumer willingness to pay and market value.
Are Official Platinum tickets legit?
While Ticketmaster defends Official Platinum tickets as a valid option, many fans and consumer groups have criticized the program’s transparency and pricing practices. Some common concerns include:
Lack of transparency
Critics argue Ticketmaster does not provide enough information about how Platinum ticket prices are set. The company states pricing is driven by demand, but the exact details of the algorithm and price-setting methodology are not public. This makes it difficult for fans to determine if prices are reasonable or artificially inflated.
Because Platinum ticket prices fluctuate, buyers cannot predict the true cost of tickets when making a purchase. A fan may see one price when they begin shopping, but the total price could increase by the time they checkout. This unpredictability frustrates many potential buyers.
Some customer complaints allege Platinum tickets are excessively priced over comparable standard tickets for the same events. While Ticketmaster says prices are aligned with demand, some fans argue their algorithms lead to unfair spikes over comparable seats.
Limited consumer choice
There is no option to opt-out of having one’s tickets be designated as Platinum tickets. The artist or event organizer chooses whether to offer Platinum tickets in partnership with Ticketmaster. This means fans cannot avoid the program if they want to buy directly from Ticketmaster.
Here is a summary of pros and cons consumers have noted about Platinum tickets:
Are Platinum tickets priced fairly?
The question of whether Platinum ticket prices are fair or reasonable is a complex one. Ticketmaster argues the prices simply represent true market value based on demand. Some consumer advocacy groups counter that the prices are artificially inflated against comparable standard tickets.
There are a few perspectives on Ticketmaster’s Official Platinum pricing:
The company’s perspective
Ticketmaster maintains its Platinum pricing practices are fair for the following reasons:
- Prices cannot exceed the thresholds set by event organizers/artists.
- They offer an alternative to paying higher prices on secondary resale sites.
- Adjusting prices according to market demand is a common practice in live entertainment and other industries like air travel.
In Ticketmaster’s view, Platinum tickets simply capture the true consumer demand better than fixed standard ticket pricing.
Consumer advocates’ concerns
However, some consumer advocacy organizations have questioned Ticketmaster’s practices. Groups like Fan Freedom argue:
- Lack of transparency means consumers cannot confirm prices are fair or inflated.
- Rapid price changes encourage impulse buying and discourage comparison shopping.
- Platinum ticket buyers are often less price-sensitive, so may overpay relative to other fans.
These groups view Platinum pricing as an anti-consumer tactic enabling Ticketmaster to artificially drive profits over fans’ interests.
An economist’s perspective
Looking at Platinum pricing through the lens of economics and pricing theory, a neutral economist might argue:
- Dynamic pricing makes sense in theory for high-demand, limited-supply goods like concert tickets.
- However, Platinum pricing will only be “fair” if demand is accurately tracked and fans have full pricing transparency.
- If prices rise due to intentional supply constraints or do not reflect real consumer demand curves, that strays into unethical price gouging territory.
Under this view, Platinum pricing needs stricter consumer protections and transparency requirements to ensure fair outcomes. But the core dynamic pricing concept aligns with economic principles of capturing true market demand.
There are good-faith arguments on all sides of this issue. More pricing data transparency from Ticketmaster could help settle some concerns around whether Platinum tickets are priced equitably or not.
Are there any alternatives to Platinum tickets?
Fans and artists who want to avoid the Official Platinum ticket program do have some alternative options, including:
Standard fixed-price tickets
Any tickets not designated as Platinum by Ticketmaster will have fixed, predictable prices announced upfront. Fans can opt to purchase these standard tickets, though they may face high initial demand and lack of availability for hot shows.
Fan-to-fan resale platforms
Many teams, artists, and venues run their own fan resale exchanges as alternatives to Ticketmaster. These provide options to buy tickets at prices set by other fans. Examples include AXS Official Resale or Ticketmaster’s Fan-to-Fan Resale marketplace.
Many artists will make some tickets available through special presales for fan club members or email list subscribers. These presale tickets are available before the general on-sale date, so fans can access tickets before Platinum variable pricing takes effect.
Secondary market resellers like StubHub, VividSeats, or SeatGeek provide resale ticket inventory outside Ticketmaster’s ecosystem. However, buyers may pay significant markups on popular shows and still face dynamically adjusted prices.
Avoiding the Platinum program requires effort by fans to seek out presales, act fast when tickets initially go on sale, or buy through alternative exchanges. For extremely high-demand shows with limited ticket inventory, Platinum pricing can be difficult to avoid entirely.
Ticketmaster Official Platinum tickets remain a polarizing topic with reasonable arguments on both sides. The dynamic pricing model makes economic sense in theory. However, many fans want greater transparency and fairness safeguards built into the Platinum ticket model.
While Ticketmaster maintains its algorithm-driven pricing is fair and supply-based, critics contend a lack of public data enables possible anti-consumer practices. More transparency could validate whether Platinum prices truly reflect consumer demand.
Overall, Official Platinum tickets are “legit” in the sense they are an official, firsthand ticket option sanctioned by artists and event hosts. Yet questions linger around optimal pricing models and practices. Consumers should weigh the pros, cons, alternatives, and unknowns carefully when considering the premium Platinum tier.