Neil Young has spent more than half a century as a dedicated road dog. But based on a heated screed the Rock Hall of Famer posted on his site this week, the road might have an end. Titled, “Concert Touring Is Broken,” the letter is a kind of addendum to the Don Quixote-like battle The Cure‘s Robert Smith has been waging against ticketing giant Ticketmaster over what both men say are its exorbitant added fees.
“It’s over. The old days are gone,” wrote Young under an all-caps opening line that claimed that TM fees are “at 30%.” Young wrote that he’s gotten letters from fans blaming him for $3,000 tickets for a benefit he’s doing. “That money does not go to me or the benefit,” he said. “Artists have to worry about ripped off fans blaming them for Ticketmaster add-ons and scalpers.”
“CONCERT TOURS are no longer fun,” said Young, who has mostly been keeping his road powder dry since before the COVID-19 pandemic (with the exception of a few benefit appearances). Young recapped the public battle Smith has been waging over the past few weeks surrounding his outrage over the additional fees tacked onto the price of tickets for his band’s upcoming North American tour, which, in some cases, exceeded the face value of the ticket.
Smith told his fans that the Cure were determined to make the tickets for their Songs of a Lost World tour affordable for fans and keep them out of the hands of price-gouging scalpers by going through TM’s Verfied Fans program and making them non-transferrable, with some seats available for as low as $20 each. But when Smith got wind of some of the fees added on, the goth rock icon went on a multi-day Twitter rampage that resulted in TM refunding fans $5-$10 on every order.
At press time a spokesperson for TM had not returned Billboard‘s request for comment.
Young’s post also linked to news reports about Smith’s battle with TM, which came after the company’s disastrous roll-out of tickets for Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour when TM’s servers were overwhelmed by demand (and an army of bots). The Justice Department has also held hearings looking into TM and sister company Live Nation Entertainment as part of an antitrust investigation.