Dice, the notoriously fee-free mobile ticket and event discovery app, has now introduced booking fees for some shows.

The platform, whose founder, Phil Hutcheon, once criticised ticket fees as being “like a drug”, said that its previous no-fee model meant it was losing money on every sale.

Dice also noted that it has found it more and more challenging to gain ticket allocations for larger events.

Russ Tannen, Dice’s UK managing director, has explained the move following a public discussion on Twitter with the band Shame.

Tannen said that the fees are “essentially a small markup that covers some of our costs, and fulfils contractual obligations to some of our partners.”

The band said: “Just to clarify, the issue we take here is with direct Dice booking fees being added without any prior consultation to ourselves, other artists or our fans.”

To which Dice replied: “We’ve backed you from the beginning. From the free shows to the current tour. All without making a single penny. We’ve told tens of thousands of people on Dice about how great you are live.”

Tannen has responded to the issues in a blog post aimed at Dice customers, and said that company’s growth, coupled with its recent expansion into North America, left a choice between introducing fees and Dice “being a small player forever”.

“As we grew (thanks to you guys) we discovered that to get a significant allocation of tickets for bigger shows, we had to agree to include a ‘booking fee’,” Tannen wrote in the blog post.

“This was particularly the case for our expansion in North America. Ultimately, it was a case of either drop ‘best gigs’ or drop ‘no booking fees’. 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 and be the lowest price.

Image: Dice 2017

“I wish we had written a blog post explaining all of this back then. And I’m sorry for not posting this sooner.

“So what are these fees? It’s essentially a small markup that covers some of our costs, and fulfils contractual obligations to some of our partners. We hate hidden extras and fake price breakdowns so the upfront price is always what you pay at the end. We believe in presenting one simple price to fans and there are lots of shows where we don’t have any mark-up at all.

“I hope this explains where we are right now. We started Dice to completely change how people discover and attend live experiences all around the world, and we’re as committed to this as we have ever been.”

Image: Dice