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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Christopher Eccleston (centre) plays an ex-policeman in this cliché-riddled thriller

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey looks very serious as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

TV This TV review contains spoilers
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Wiz Khalifa performs on stage during day one of the Wireless Festival at Perry Park in Birmingham

Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury


Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars creator George Lucas


Arts and Entertainment


Arts and Entertainment
A shot from the forthcoming Fast and Furious 7


Arts and Entertainment
The new-look Top of the Pops could see Fearne Cotton returns as a host alongside Dermot O'Leary


Arts and Entertainment
The leader of the Church of Scientology David Miscavige


Arts and Entertainment
No half measures: ‘The Secret Life of the Pub’

Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air

Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

Arts and Entertainment
Could Ed Sheeran conquer the Seven Kingdoms? He could easily pass for a Greyjoy like Alfie Allen's character (right)

tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros

Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce, Boris Johnson, Putin, Nigel Farage, Russell Brand and Andy Murray all get the Spitting Image treatment from Newzoids
tvReview: The sketches need to be very short and very sharp as puppets are not intrinsically funny
Arts and Entertainment
Despite the controversy it caused, Mile Cyrus' 'Wrecking Ball' video won multiple awards
musicPoll reveals over 70% of the British public believe sexually explicit music videos should get ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister and Ian Beattie as Meryn Trant in the fifth season of Game of Thrones

Arts and Entertainment

book review
Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

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

    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
    Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

    Confessions of a former PR man

    The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

    Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

    Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
    London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

    The mother of all goodbyes

    Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
    Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

    Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

    The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
    Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions