Ticketmaster Has a Monopoly. Fans Hate It, but Artists Love It
November 15, 2022, was a disastrous day for millions of Americans. They woke up, logged online, and received poor customer service. These people were eager to get concert tickets but were met with service outages and site crashes. Of course, this is nothing new, so what made this day different?
The victims were Swifties. Tickets were on sale for Taylor Swift’s Eras tour, and demand far outweighed supply.
But, let’s not oversimplify the issue. The average ticket price for the show was estimated at $215, and that’s before we look at resale costs. Approximately 14 million people waited for tickets, but 2.4 million tickets were sold. By nature, many people will be upset, but the day was plagued with technical issues. Potential customers spent hours in virtual queues just to lose their place or face crashes. Those who did get tickets were faced with sticker shock but had to settle for high prices. And this was all on the presale day, which exhausted supplies so much that general public sales were canceled.
Or, in the words of Taylor, fans went through “multiple bear attacks” to secure tickets. She wishes things were different, but they weren’t, so she’s not going to do anything about it. Why? Because Ticketmaster fundamentally has a monopoly.
What’s wrong with Ticketmaster?
There’s a clear tipping point when it comes to Ticketmaster’s grip on the music industry: Its 2010 merger with Live Nation.
Prior to this time, Live Nation was primarily in the business of promoting concerts, and would often outsource business to Ticketmaster. Then, in 2008, Live Nation stopped using Ticketmaster in favor of its own sales platform, and of course, Ticketmaster didn’t want this competition.
When the two giants merged to form Live Nation Entertainment (LNE), it seemed like a business move that made sense—and pushed competition out of the market. Live Nation uses its relationships to secure venues, and Ticketmaster sells the tickets. What could go wrong?