Tickets to see Beyoncé in the US are so expensive that some US fans are flying to Europe.
The number of American fans attending concerts abroad was constant. increasing before the pandemic, but recent Ticketmaster controversies have highlighted the difficulties of the ticketing process on a national level. With dynamic pricing driving up the cost of concert tickets in the US and young people spending more and more money on experiencesseeing Beyoncé in Europe gives some fans more for their money.
Over the last month, TikTok users have been demystifying the international ticket buying process and making more consumers aware of the potential savings.
Content creator Mercedes Arielle is no stranger to strategy. In 2018, she saw Beyoncé and Jay-Z on the “On the Run II Tour” in Paris, and secured floor seats for $92 each. In her hometown of Dallas, the going rate for the same tickets was $900 higher.
This year, after witnessing the failed launch of Taylor Swift’s “Eras Tour,” Arielle said she didn’t want to trust Ticketmaster or the American system.
Arielle paid less for her international flight, hotel stay and a Beyoncé ticket in Stockholm than her local friends paid to see the same show in Dallas. Her VIP tickets to the Stockholm show cost $366. Even her hotel is «essentially free» due to points and miles.
«Beyoncé is going to sweat me,» she said. «That’s how close I am.»
Since she last traveled to Europe to see Beyoncé, Arielle has been sharing affordable luxury travel tips, like using points to buy flights.
“It’s really important to me to make people realize that living within your means doesn’t mean your lifestyle can’t be fabulous or that you can’t have these brilliant moments that will be forever memories,” she said. “For me, the savings are priceless.”
Others online agreed that it may be cheaper to splurge on a concert and vacation than to pay a similar amount to see the show in their home cities.
When Kylyn Schnelle, 28, looked at the floor tickets for Beyoncé’s «World Revival Tour» stop in Louisville, Kentucky, where she lives, she found some seats reselling for more than $800. Given the high price, she decided to take a look at London floor tickets to see if she could find a better deal.
“When I looked in London, I weighed 167 pounds [about $200], and the flight cost about $660,” he said. «I was like this was really the same cost.»
Schnelle’s best friend lives in London, so it took «very little convincing» to go, she said.
«If you’re going to spend $800, why not exploit it as much as possible?» she said, adding that she has the privilege of traveling abroad for concerts because she is young and single and has a job that gives her paid time off.
Resale restrictions differ in Europe
Frustration at Ticketmaster, which has been embroiled in controversy after the November sale of Swift’s “Eras Tour,” has reached a fever pitch in recent months. The company has been criticized for its outsized role in the US ticketing industry. At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in January, the company was questioned about the prevalence of bots, exorbitant fees and high prices.
Ticketmaster’s use of dynamic price, which adjusts prices based on demand, has been particularly contentious among concertgoers in the United States. While it is being used more and more in the UK and some other European countries, it is still less commonmaking tickets more reasonable in the eyes of American consumers.
Schnelle posted a TikTok video He shared his European ticket buying experience and praised UK and European consumer protection laws. In the comments, some viewers shared similar experiences, while others expressed interest in exploring European options for future concerts.
“I don’t think what Ticketmaster has done in the United States after the pandemic is sustainable for their business, because they’ve upset a lot of people,” Schnelle said.
Also, while ticket resale is still a major problem in Europe, the UK and some other European countries cap resale prices, driving market prices down. Ticketmaster is also facing increased competitive pressure abroad, with Eventim and Dice serving as major ticket sellers in the region.
A Ticketmaster spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
I don’t think what Ticketmaster has done in the United States after the pandemic is sustainable for their business because it has upset a lot of people.
—Kylyn Schnelle, a fan Going on Beyoncé’s tour in London instead of her hometown Louisville
Sam Shemtob, managing director of ticket resale advocacy group Face-value European Alliance for Ticketing, said ticketing platforms can implement limits on their resale policies, but the numbers vary across Europe. On European ticketing site Eventim, he said, resale tickets are capped at face value plus booking fees in the UK and with a markup of 20% of face value in countries like the Netherlands. By contrast, he said, Germany has no limit on resale price increases at Eventim.
“The laws are getting better across Europe in the sense that they are becoming more homogenized and more equal,” Shemtob said. «But right now, there are quite a few different laws in different member states.»
Last year, the European Parliament passed the Digital Services Law, which includes ticket regulations and will come into force on January 1. Shemtob hopes he will create «a more level playing field in terms of regulation and enforcement.»
The DSA will require resellers to provide proof of identification and contact information, require the disclosure of third-party sellers on resale sites, and prohibit «panic buying» tactics such as the use of timers.
“We are exploring and trying to get a better understanding of how it will be enforced, because without enforcement, the legislation is meaningless or almost meaningless,” said Shemtob, who said enforcement remains a problem in the US. European countries.
While the UK and European Union are taking steps to address ticketing issues, fans may still face high prices and confusing resale margins similar to those in the US, depending on the country. Shemtob said «consumer education is very important» when it comes to buying tickets, adding that campaigns like «Make Tickets Fair!» provide resources on resale laws throughout the region.
Despite the exorbitant prices, some fans are still going big.
Jadrian Wooten, an associate professor of economics at Virginia Tech, said two main behavioral factors lead consumers to spend hundreds of dollars on concert tickets, even if it’s not in their best financial interests.
The first is called «present bias,» the idea that «we heavily discount the future and prioritize the things we’re doing today.»
We know as consumers and as people who have lived through a pandemic that opportunities for certain experiences may not happen again, which is why fans “go out of their way to do that today,” Wooten said.
The second factor is that consumers base the value or price of a product on experience, known as «anchoring bias.» In the case of purchasing tickets to see the industry titans through Ticketmaster, Beyoncé’s fans saw certain prices for Swift’s “Eras Tour” and adjusted her expectations and budgets accordingly.
When Wooten first heard that American fans were choosing to travel to international shows for the same or cheaper tickets, he thought it was a «really creative way» to get two things for the price of one.
“You’re putting two experiences into one,” he said. «You’re getting both a concert experience and a trip that you might want to do anyway.»
But not all fans opt for the jet-setter.
Some fans said his European ticketing strategy backfired.
Jamaya Powell, 26, bought expensive Beyoncé tickets in Germany before looking at flight prices, which she later realized she couldn’t afford. Powell went viral on TikTok because he desperately tried to sell the two German tickets.
“Online, I couldn’t really get an estimate of how much the tickets would cost in the United States,” said Powell, who lives in Atlanta. “I just thought, because of everything that’s been going on, that they would be very expensive. So I impulsively bought the tickets in Germany.»
Powell purchased dynamically priced tickets from Ticketmaster for €409 each. A friend living in Austria bought face value tickets in the same section for a lower price.
Powell was unaware of dynamic pricing at the time, and says she felt «ripped off by Ticketmaster.» She struggled to resell her tickets because she bought them above face value.
Powell eventually sold the tickets at a loss, at €240 each. He was also able to secure two tickets in his hometown of Atlanta for $741.60.
«It’s hard not to be impulsive when, you know, you want to go to a concert that’s highly anticipated and people are really interested in going,» Powell said. «I would just say make smarter decisions than I did.»