Following a Taylor Swift ticket sale meltdown in November, certain legislators are turning their focus to concert ticket competition. Specifically, they are considering the statistic that 70% of tickets sold for concert venues in the United States are distributed through Ticketmaster, an exclusively online company that merged with the comparable service Live Nation in 2010. Legislators argue that the company maintains a strong monopoly of the ticket sale market, making it difficult for consumers to evaluate additional competitive offers or options. As a business that reaches at least 30 countries, Ticketmaster processes 500 million ticket sale transactions each year.
Last year, consumers who were dissatisfied with Ticketmaster’s conduct in the Taylor Swift matter filed a lawsuit against the parent company. In particular, during the presale event for Swift’s stadium tour, the overwhelming traffic of fans and bots wishing to purchase tickets led to the site crashing. After waiting several hours in a queue, fans lost the opportunity to buy tickets. While the online bots may be largely to blame, Live Nation’s President and CFO assured its consumers that Ticketmaster has allotted $1 billion within the past ten years to help combat bots and enhance security measures that resist the parasitic nature of mass ticket purchasing.
Although bots and security are clear concerns, the way in which Ticketmaster conducts business is a matter of equal importance. Possible solutions to the competition issue have been posed, including the presentation of tickets that are determined non-transferable, which would help reduce instances of scalping. Ticket fees are a congruent issue; and critics argue that it is necessary to heighten the transparency of why certain associated fees are tacked on the final bill. Statistics show that the additional fees, which may include venue costs, average about 27% of the actual concert ticket and may escalate to 75%. The astronomical ticket rates and fees leave even the most die-hard fans to consider whether a concert is worth the price.