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Dice responds to accusations of secret booking fees

By | Published on Thursday 15 February 2018


Dice has responded to accusations made recently by the band Shame that the company has been quietly sneaking booking fees onto ticket prices. The mobile ticketing app originally launched with an unusual but popular ‘no booking fees’ approach.

“Everyone’s favourite ‘no booking fees’ vendor Dice have slyly added a 10% booking fee to shows costing above £10”, tweeted the band last week. “We knew absolutely nothing about this. Sorry to anyone who’s been stung by this”.

They went on: “We’ve used Dice for every headline show for the last year because it benefits music fans who don’t want to get ripped off by fees. Here they are charging £20.85 for a £16 show. We will not be using Dice again from here on out. Fucking money grabbers”.

This resulted in a back and forth on Twitter, where Dice attempted unsuccessfully to placate the band and explain the situation – pointing out that the company had long supported the outift and that its platform meant that their tickets were not appearing on secondary sites. Now the company’s Managing Director Russ Tannen has issued a statement further attempting to clarify things.

“On Friday some of you might have seen that we got into a bit of a Twitter back-and-forth with the band Shame”, he writes. “This obviously sucks because a) we love the band and b) we started Dice to fix ticketing for fans, not piss them off”.

He continues: “When we started Dice in 2014 our tagline was ‘Best Gigs. No Booking Fees’. For the whole time we used that line we didn’t have booking fees and lost money on every ticket sold. Why? We were trying to figure out how this thing works. As we grew we discovered that to get a significant allocation of tickets for bigger shows, we had to agree to include a ‘booking fee’. This was particularly the case for our expansion in North America”.

This led to much internal debate about how the company should proceed, he said. Ultimately, it was decided that they should accept fees on some tickets.

“Ultimately, it was a case of either drop ‘Best Gigs’ or drop ‘No Booking Fees'”, he says. “So we decided to start incorporating some fees to a small number of shows and dropped the ‘no booking fees’ line in January 2017. What didn’t change is our commitment to always try [to] be the lowest price”.

The fees constitute “a small markup that covers some of our costs, and fulfils contractual obligations to some of our partners”. The total price the customer will pay is also always stated up front, rather than at the end of the transaction. Tannen added that there are still “lots of shows where we don’t have any markup at all”.

He did, however, concede that the company should have explained this change in detail when it was implemented.