Why do some O2 tickets cost £200? "Supply and demand"

London venue says promoters set its sky-high prices

Fans are used to seeing tickets for sell-out gigs being offered for sale at high prices by unseen digital touts or by shady gentlemen lurking outside venues muttering: "I'll buy or sell any tickets for tonight."

But the latest development in the music industry has raised eyebrows among even seasoned observers. Fans booking tickets for gigs at one of Britain's most popular arenas have reported being charged up to four times the price of ordinary seats – not by a suspicious-looking third party, but by the venue's official website.

While standard tickets for pop groups are around the £40 mark at the O2 arena, which is housed within the site of the former Millennium Dome in North Greenwich, optimum-viewing tickets a few feet away are on sale for anything up to £204 each – and fluctuate in value depending on demand.

Ticketmaster, the official ticket agency for the O2, tells fans that using "market-based pricing" for tickets will give them a better chance of seeing their favourite groups than using set prices.

Among the beneficiaries of the so-called "Platinum tickets" scheme are the French synthesiser guru Jean Michel Jarre, the US 1970s supergroup Supertramp, the singer Mary J Blige, and the Irish boy band Boyzone, all of whose Platinum tickets were at least double the normal ticket price.

The most expensive price of all – £675.03 for a pair of tickets in block A1 – was charged by Simply Red, the Mancunian band fronted by Mick Hucknall, the Labour-supporting singer whose songs include "Money's Too Tight (To Mention)".

While concert venues in Britain have long offered varying pricing, charging especially high prices for theatre boxes, the scale of the disparity at the O2 may heighten fears that ordinary fans are being priced out of live music.

One common complaint at venues across the UK is that tickets "sell out" the moment they officially go on sale, only for large numbers to appear immediately at astronomical prices on the legal "secondary market" over the internet.

While fans buying extra tickets to sell on websites such as getmein.com and seatwave.com are partly to blame for the phenomenon, Platinum tickets are different because they are being sold for several times the standard price through official channels.

The tickets, which usually have to be bought in pairs, give the holders access to the centre of the ground level at the O2 arena. The venue has hosted spectacular shows by Prince and Madonna in the past, and was chosen by Michael Jackson for a scheduled 50-date residency prior to his death in June last year.

Some bands appearing at the 23,000-seat venue seem to have avoided the temptation to charge Platinum prices, so tickets including service charge for Peter Kay, the comedian, cost £40, Shakira £45, Roxy Music £67, and Lady Gaga £84, including the best seats.

However, other bands appear to be taking advantage of the Platinum system to maximise their profits. Two seats in block A2 for Jean Michel Jarre's show next month cost £195, against a normal face value of £51. Only one Platinum ticket is left for Supertramp, at a cost of £204. At £98 each, Platinum tickets for the Australian comedian Tim Minchin on 14 December are double the normal £44 face value.

Ticketmaster says it has no control over the price of Platinum tickets, saying: "Ticketmaster does not set the ticket prices. We sell tickets for our clients, who are the promoters, event organisers and venues, at the prices they wish to sell them at."

However, ticket buyers visiting the O2 website are automatically transferred to Ticketmaster's site, which explains the pricing: "Official Platinum Tickets are premium tickets to concerts and other events made available by artists and event providers through Ticketmaster. They give fans fair and safe access to some of the best seats in the house."

They are not "resale tickets", it adds. "Official Platinum Tickets were not purchased initially and then posted for resale; they are being sold for the first time through Ticketmaster.

"Ticketmaster's Official Platinum Tickets programme enables market-based pricing (adjusting prices according to supply and demand) for live event tickets, similar to how airline tickets and hotel rooms are sold.

"The goal is to give the most passionate fans fair and safe access to the best tickets, while enabling artists and other people involved in staging live events to price tickets closer to their true value."

O2, which is owned by the US entertainment giant AEG, says it has no control over ticket prices. "The promoters set the prices," a spokeswoman said.

The Independent contacted promoters including AEG's live concert arm, which promotes Mary J Blige, about the practice, which is thought to have originated in the US, but none was willing to comment.

Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv'The Last Kingdom' embraces politics, religion, warfare, courage, love and loyalty, say creators
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m

film
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips

music
News
peopleThe Game of Thrones author said speculation about his health and death was 'offensive'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The new film will be shot in the same studios as the Harry Potter films

books
Arts and Entertainment
Duncan Bannatyne left school at 15 and was still penniless at 29

Bannatyne leaves Dragon's Den

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The French economist Thomas Piketty wrote that global inequality has worsened

books
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant and Benedict Cumberbatch

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck plays a despondent Nick Dunne in David Fincher's 'Gone Girl'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty (L) and Carl Barât look at the scene as people begin to be crushed

music
Arts and Entertainment

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Caral Barat of The Libertines performs on stage at British Summer Time Festival at Hyde Park

music
Arts and Entertainment
Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea perform on stage at the Billboard Music Awards 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Zina Saro-Wiwa

art
Arts and Entertainment
All-new couples 'Come Dine With Me'

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Black Sabbath's Ozzy Osbourne
musicReview: BST Hyde Park, London
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Gamble and Amy Hoggart star in Almost Royal burning bright productions
tvTV comedy following British ‘aristos’ is accused of mocking the trusting nature of Americans
Arts and Entertainment
Sassoon threw his Military Cross into the Mersey
booksAn early draft of ‘Atrocities’ shows the anti-war sentiment was toned down before publication
Arts and Entertainment
Actors and technicians on the march against changes made by Hollande
theatreOpening performances of the Avignon theatre festival cancelled as actors and technicians walk out
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West performed in a chain mail mask at Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park
Rapper booed at Wireless over bizarre rant
Arts and Entertainment

They're back, they're big – and they're still spectacularly boring

film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
    Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

    Hollywood targets Asian audiences

    The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
    Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

    Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

    Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
    Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

    Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

    Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
    10 best girls' summer dresses

    Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

    Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
    Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

    Westminster’s dark secret

    Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
    Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

    Naked censorship?

    The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
    Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

    Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

    As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
    Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

    David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

    Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil