LiveNation-Ticketmaster Monopoly Generates Tension Over the Live Entertainment Industry

(Image via ew.com)

Staff Writer: Julian Cassady

Email: jcassady@umassd.edu

As the Holiday season takes hold, many of us remember the years we sat together with family and older relatives, talking about “the good ol’ days.” Uncle Jimmy always rambling on about all the concerts he went to in the early 90s. 

You’ve heard all his stories before, it’s practically an unofficial holiday tradition at this point.

 Jimmy always points out how tickets are outrageously expensive now. Back in his day tickets to see his favorite bands would be between $5-$15.

You also already know that Uncle Jimmy is going to moan about how acquiring tickets is a task in itself. During the early 90s, he would just buy tickets straight from the venue the night of the show. 

Uncle Jimmy is also very vocal about how he used to get away with purchasing alcohol and cigarettes from the venue, proudly proclaiming that he could pass as a 23-year-old when he was 17.

All of Uncle Jimmy’s nostalgic stories remind you that things aren’t quite what they used to be.

It was a different time back then. The live music and entertainment industry is drastically different from not too long ago, but not for the better.

Concerts for big artists are now more expensive. General admission tickets for small bands can go as low as $25, but the cheapest tickets for some of the hottest performers can go as high as $200. 

The staggering price increase is attributable to the limited choices to reliably obtain tickets. 

Most concert venues don’t sell tickets individually, rather, they have contracts with companies who manage the sale of tickets through their websites.

Concertgoers are now expressing their outrage and concern over the two companies responsible for 90% of all organized live events, LiveNation and Ticketmaster, for merging, which created a monopoly.

The biggest problem with LiveNation owning Ticketmaster and other subsidiaries is that they have complete control over the entire live entertainment process. 

LiveNation books artists to the venues under its contract and helps them advertise through its website. From there, customers go to Ticketmaster to buy and store their virtual tickets to the live event.

Customers are pigeonholed into only going through LiveNation when buying tickets, and artists are forced to work with LiveNation if they want the chance to play at a nice venue.

The last straw for LiveNation was its mishandling of ticket sales for the upcoming Taylor Swift tour. Customers flooded the Ticketmaster website upon the prerelease of the tickets and were met with error messages and site crashes.

Many fans believe that if more ticket vendors were available, the problem would not have happened. More vendors means the rush of website traffic would’ve been distributed over multiple servers.

All of these problems have caught the attention of the Department of Justice (DOJ). The antitrust division of the DOJ is currently investigating the Taylor Swift ticket debacle in addition to collecting data on LiveNation’s business practices.

The DOJ has also hinted at pursuing a plan to split up Ticketmaster and LiveNation. Breaking up the company will encourage competition in the live entertainment industry.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez weighed in about the LiveNation drama on Twitter. 

Her post is a call to action for upset customers to directly communicate with the DOJ about their concerns. AOC included a link on her tweet that brought users to a website that would send an email to the DOJ regarding this situation. 

More than 28,000 emails have already been sent to the DOJ. Will you be the next one to step up and take action against this blatant monopoly?

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