With the Live Nation/Ticketmaster merger hearing with an antitrust subcommittee scheduled for later today, Ticketmaster cleared one potential hurtle by reaching a settlement with the New Jersey Attorney General in relation to the Bruce Springsteen ticketing fiasco that occurred last month. Under the terms of the deal, Ticketmaster has agreed to alter its business practices and pay $350,000 to cover investigative, attorney and administrative fees, according to NJ Attorney General Anne Milgram's website.
New Jersey Springsteen fans were enraged when Ticketmaster's system routed buyers to the more expensive secondary ticketing site TicketsNow, even though tickets to his Izod Center show were still available on Ticketmaster. Springsteen himself was "furious" with Ticketmaster's maneuver, which prompted the ticketing site to apologize and later blame a credit card glitch.
The Attorney General stepped in to investigate, and thus an "Assurance of Voluntary Compliance" was drawn up that will force Ticketmaster to "place a wall" between itself and TicketsNow for at least a year, meaning a sold out show won't automatically route consumers to the secondary site. "Ticketmaster also agreed not to engage in paid Internet search advertising that would lead consumers searching for "Ticketmaster" on Internet search engines to its TicketsNow," Milgram's post reads. "In addition, Ticketmaster confirmed and agreed that all tickets it receives for sale to the general public will be sold on its primary market website. Ticketmaster also agreed not to allow the sale or offer of sale of any tickets on the TicketsNow.com re-selling website until the initial sale begins on its primary website."
"I also want to thank Bruce Springsteen and his management in our efforts to hammer out this agreement. He was as outraged as anyone over the circumstances surrounding the sale of tickets to his concerts," Milgram wrote. As for those Springsteen fans that either didn't get tickets, "The settlement creates a random drawing for 1,000 consumers who filed complaints against Ticketmaster with the Division of Consumer Affairs as of last Tuesday, February 17th, to purchase two tickets each to one of the two concerts scheduled for May 21st and May 23rd at the Izod Center." People who don't win tickets in the lottery will be awarded both a $100 gift certificate and an exclusive pre-sale opportunity the next time Springsteen comes to New Jersey, which is pretty often.
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