What are all these Ticketmaster fees? And how do I avoid paying them?

Fees are the bane of every ticket-buyer’s existence.

You go buy tickets for a concert, and you have a number in mind. Suddenly, the final cost is much higher than you had anticipated.

Why? Ticket fees. So, so many fees.

What are all these fees? And is there any way to avoid paying them?

We have answers to both questions, and we’ll explain it all below!

John Rzeznik plays Omaha’s brand new venue, The Astro. Photo by Kevin Coffey/Pops And Hisses

How do I find out about upcoming concerts?

Check with Pops and Hisses. Seriously. We keep an ongoing list of the best concerts coming to town.

We’re also publishing a weekly list of concert announcements, sold out shows and upcoming concerts.

James Taylor performs in Omaha. Photo by Kevin Coffey/Pops And Hisses

How are ticket prices determined?

The price of your ticket — face value — is the most expensive part of purchasing a ticket.

For concerts, the face value is determined by the artist in conjunction with the artist’s management, the venue and the promoter. But you should know: The artist is ultimately responsible for this number. They can choose to make it higher or lower.

Essentially, that number is determined by two things: What the profit margin is going to be (a.ka. what the artist is going to get paid) as well as production costs. The ticket cost factors in how much an artist gets paid to do the show and covers any and all production costs including staff, roadies, lights, dancers, pyrotechnics, staging, backing bands, the opening bands, equipment and everything associated with actually putting on the show. An artist will have to charge a higher cost for a bigger production. If it’s just a band on a stage with some lights, this cost can be lowered.

Artists (and their management) play with these numbers to hit a sweet spot between making sure everyone gets paid and determining a number fans will pay to see a show.

Jon Bon Govi performs with Bon Jovi at a sold-out concert in Omaha. Photo by Kevin Coffey/Pops And Hisses

What are the ticket fees?

When you buy a concert ticket, there are a whole bunch of fees. Why? Because those fees go to pay a whole bunch of different things.

Different ticket sellers use different terminology, but we used Ticketmaster’s language in explaining them below.

Service Fee

This fee is charged per ticket by the ticketing company to sell the tickets. Also called a convenience fee, this is how the ticketing company (such as Ticketmaster, StubHub, etix, Ticketfly, etc.) makes money.

Venues also sometimes collect a part of this fee, and they use it to cover the cost of putting on the event such as paying staff. Venues don’t always collect this fee, so sometimes you can avoid paying a service fee by purchasing directly from a venue box office. Venues cover costs by charging other fees such as a facility charge (more on that below) or by charging a rental fee to the tour.

Order Processing Fee

This fee is charged once per order by the ticketing company. Venue box offices do not charge this fee.

Delivery Fee

These days, many tickets are digital and delivered to your mobile device, so thankfully delivery charges are mostly disappearing. But any time physical paper tickets are delivered to your home or left at the venue’s will call window, a fee is typically charged to cover that cost.

Facility Charge

Set by the venue, a facility fee covers the cost of hosting live events. These are dictated by the venue and 100% of the money goes directly to the venue.


Depending on where you live, you may have to pay state and local taxes.

Resale Service Fee

When you resell tickets on a platform like Ticketmaster, they often charge a resale service fee to the seller of the ticket for the convenience of using their service to make the sale.

Lord Huron performs at Outlandia Festival
“You’ve been so good to us folks. I hope we’ve been good to you,” Lord Huron frontman Ben Schneider said at Outlandia music festival. Photo by Kevin Coffey/Pops And Hisses

How much are the ticket costs and fees?

That all depends. Of course the ticket’s face value can change from event to event, but so can the fees. Sometimes they’re a flat fee, but sometimes they’re a percentage of the cost.

An upcoming arena concert ticket purchased via Ticketmaster included the following costs and fees:

  • Face Value: $145.50
  • Service Fee: $26.80
  • Facility Charge: $4
  • Order Processing Fee: $4.25
  • Delivery: Free (for mobile delivery)
  • Total: $180.55

An upcoming club show ticket purchased via etix included the following costs and fees:

  • Face Value: $35
  • Service Fee: $8.50
  • Order Processing Fee: $1.20
  • Total: $44.70

For the arena concert, the fees amounted to 19% of the total cost for the ticket. For the club show, the fees amounted to 21% of the total cost for one ticket. Since ticket fees vary due to a number of factors, the percentage is going to vary based on the event, the venue, face value of the ticket and how many tickets you buy. But you can typically expect to pay roughly 20% of the face value in additional fees.

Nick Hexum performs with 311 in their hometown of Omaha. Photo by Kevin Coffey/Pops And Hisses

How do I avoid paying fees?

The easiest way to avoid most of the fees is to buy from the venue box office or another physical retail location that sells tickets. (My local record shop sells tickets to club shows!) Most arenas and theaters have a box office, and those service fees, convenience fees, delivery charges and order processing fees are often not charged at those locations.

A couple other things to remember: Typically, you cannot avoid a facility fee no matter where you purchase a ticket. Also, some venues do charge these fees even if you purchase directly from there. And others simply don’t have a box office, so there’s no way to buy them other than online.

Jim Adkins and Jimmy Eat World play Outlandia Music Festival. Photo by Kevin Coffey/Pops And Hisses

What is Ticketmaster’s All-In Pricing?

Sometimes the fees aren’t listed at all.

All-In Pricing is how Ticketmaster shows a single price for tickets. That price includes both the face value of a ticket and all the fees.

Repeating for emphasis: You aren’t avoiding fees when buying a ticket with All-In Pricing. The cost includes the fees. But it’s great to know the cost up front rather than being hit with it when you go to check out.

Not all tickets on Ticketmaster use All-In Pricing. Ticketmaster allows artists and venues to opt-in, so some events and concerts will have it and others won’t. All venues owned/operated by Live Nation use All-In Pricing, but many others do not. You’ll still see a lot of tickets listed as $PRICE + Fees. My assumption is this is done for the reason it’s always been done: It makes the ticket appear less expensive.