The Down Low on Dynamic Pricing. Should Music Fans Be Excited?

2 Mar

Whether you’re already familiar with the term or not, prepare to hear a lot more about “dynamic pricing” in the coming months if you’re a fan of live events. Today, the Minnesota Timberwolves announced that they are launching a new dynamic ticket pricing program, re-igniting debate on the practice and if it helps or hurts fans and live events in general. So what exactly is ‘dynamic pricing?’ It’s when a ticket provider has the ability to adjust prices on the fly depending on a variety of factors, whether it’s the weather, the quality of an opponent, injuries, the date of the game, or anything else. This allows the venue or organizer to operate like the secondary ticket market. The Timberwolves can now sell their Friday night game against the Lakers for a lot more than they would charge for next Tuesday’s game against the Bucks. (Think of it like airline tickets; prices constantly fluctuating based on demand and expectations).

Right now, a lot of sports teams are playing around with this. The Kansas City Royales are testing this out for Spring Training. The Toronto Raptors tried it for a month this season. And sports clubs aren’t the only ticketers getting in on dynamic pricing. Live Nation just announced that they will roll out a dynamic pricing product for music venues and concert promoters late this summer. (So Ticketmaster blasts the secondary ticket market at the beginning of the week and then announces plans to create software that will allow their clients to behave as such. Anyone want to explain this one to me)?

Anyways – all of this aside – let’s get to the important question: what does this mean for you, the fan? Should you be excited? Dynamic pricing should result in some great deals. If a huge storm is coming and ticket sellers notice that people aren’t buying, die hards will be able to get a monster discount. That’s great. But the constant fluctating of prices for a single event are sure to draw the ire of ticket buyers everywhere. If you get burned in the secondary ticket market, well, unfortunately that’s sometimes the “price” you pay for gaining access to a sold out event. (Pardon the pun). But if you buy a $40 dollar ticket while they’re available and then the seller drops the price to $20 because they can, that’s going to piss a lot of people off. Everyone loves an early bird special and fans should always be rewarded for buying early. But with dynamic pricing, there’s a chance that the most loyal fans – the ones that buy the second a ticket goes on sales – will be penalized. (That’s one reason we built our sharing software. The earlier you buy, the more opportunities you have to earn big – fans should be rewarded for being fans, not overcharged).

Obviously, the dynamic pricing issue is an interesting one. And, as a service for the fans, FanFueled just wants to make sure that you are on top of it and know what could be ahead of you. Let us know what you think about this – is dynamic pricing just a fad or the next big thing – or if you have any questions.

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