Musician Testifies About Ticketmaster ‘Monopoly,’ Goes Viral
Ticketmaster and its parent company Live Nation dominate the world of event ticketing, and the public is becoming increasingly frustrated with their practices. A musician has testified against Ticketmaster during a Senate Judiciary committee, providing a thorough explanation as to why the company is problematic from an artist's perspective, and has gone viral as a result.
During the Tuesday hearing, committee members from both parties criticized the company, calling it a monopoly that "hinders competition and hurts consumers," according to the New York Times.
When tickets for Taylor Swift's upcoming Eras Tour went on sale this past November, the server was overwhelmed by the volume of fans trying to buy them, and it crashed. Though a few million people were successful in their transactions, another couple of million were left disappointed. Tickets on the resale market were priced as high as $45,000, according to Time.
The situation then raised some red flags, and the U.S. Senate called for an antitrust hearing to investigate the lack of healthy competition within the live event ticketing industry.
The hearing took place on Tuesday (Jan. 24), and while Swift was not in attendance, Joe Berchtold, president of Live Nation Entertainment, was, as well as an artist named Clyde Lawrence, who spoke on behalf of musicians. A video of his testimony has gone viral.
"Most of the issues we face stem from the fact that Live Nation/Ticketmaster often acts as three things at the same time — the promoter, the venue and the ticketing company. Let's imagine we just played a sold-out show at a venue Live Nation owns and operates. When an artist plays these venues, they're required to use Live Nation as the promoter. Far from simply advertising, the promoter coordinates and pays the upfront costs to put together a concert, such as renting and staffing a venue, and striking a deal with the performer," Lawrence stated.
"Since both our pay and theirs is a share of the show's profits, we should be true partners, aligned in our incentives — keep costs low, while ensuring the best fan experience. But with Live Nation not only acting as the promoter, but also as the owner and/or operator of the venue, it seriously complicates these incentives," he continued.
Lawrence pointed out that artists are unable to negotiate with Live Nation because of their control over the industry as a whole.
"If they want to take 10 percent of the revenues and call it a 'facility fee,' they can, and have. If they want to charge $30,000 for the 'house nut,' they can, and have. If they want to charge us $250 for a stack of 10 clean towels, they can, and have. Once these costs, some of which went to Live Nation's subsidiaries, are taken into account, the remainder is split between Live Nation and the band."
The musician further pointed out that the artist, in this hypothetical situation, gets about $12 from a ticket with a $30 face value. The fans, however, didn't pay $30 for the tickets — they paid $42 because of added fees.
Watch the video clips below to hear the rest of Lawrence's detailed explanation. The clip has garnered over 3 million views on Twitter.