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It’s basic politics, innit?

US authorities have launched a legal effort to break up Ticketmaster after botched ticket sales for artists including Taylor Swift and Bruce Springsteen fuelled accusations of anti-competitive behaviour.

The US Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against Ticketmaster and its parent company Live Nation accusing the group of illegally inflating ticket prices at the expense of both artists and fans.

It’s possible, of course it’s possible. So is another explanation possible. Lots of people want to see the shows, more than there are shows to see. Supply isn’t matching demand.

The way to check this. What are the margins like at Tickemaster? What are they like at other ticketing agencies? What are they like for the venues and tha artists?

Who’s making out like a bandit? That’s the person earning from the monopoly…..Oh, Hello Ms Swift, how delightful to hear from you……

15 thoughts on “It’s basic politics, innit?”

  1. With a net worth of $1.1 billion, whatever Ticketmaster is doing can’t be harming Ms Swift that badly.

  2. “So is another explanation possible. Lots of people want to see the shows, more than there are shows to see. Supply isn’t matching demand.”

    Exactly. More people want to see bands live now than they did in the past. The experience is safer, older people don’t shift to classical music, and there’s a whole big status thing around it with people sharing selfies of being there.

    And I think the last point is a big one. People stopped showing off by getting older and going to the theatre or the opera, and started showing off by going to Glastonbury. There’s no other reason for spending £250 to stand in a muddy field listening to landfill indie music all day. You could spend less on balcony tickets at Covent Garden.

  3. Bloke In Scotland

    I think you are missing the point. The tickets could be sold by the artist at a market price, which in Ms Swift’s case would be a very high price indeed, the artist could make out like a bandit but choose not to. Officially this is usually so the “ordinary fans” can get to the gigs, but it also shelters the artist from accusations of banditry.
    That still leaves tickets being retailed for less than people are willing to pay and a profit for anyone that can scoop up up tickets for resale.
    The profit from ticket sales that the artist is giving up in favour of the fans is being appropriated by the touts. The complaints are not that the artist is losing money but that the fans are having their gift nicked.

  4. @bis

    The really efficient thing would be having an auction for tickets. Would need a performer with a mix of greed and very thick skin to try it, but good for them if they do. At least we’d be spared all those sob stories of buyers constantly refreshing the website but the tickets all vanishing immediately.

  5. Isn’t the problem the miscellaneous fees that they add, Ryanair-style? A quick search online shows an Order Processing Fee; a Facility Charge; and a Service Fee. Essentially, the price charged bears little relation to the price advertised.

  6. I did see a Youtube video on why it was not all Ticketmaster’s fault; it no longer seems to be available. It all started before the internet when many ticket sales were by telephone: Ticketmaster relieved the venue/promoter of this admin cost.

    Top artistes often get 90% plus of the value of ticket sales, even 100% plus. How can that work? Well, the venue has to make its profits on things like the sale of food and drinks. But it does mean that everyone apart from the artiste has to find a way to make money.

    The complaint seems to be that Ticketmaster wants exclusivity of ticket sales. What if Tesco wanted exclusivity on a particular breakfast cereal or soft drink? Maybe the manufacturer, or in this case venue/promoter, would rather deal with one organisation rather than many.

  7. Andrew M,

    But that’s only because of the model, that the venue charges £70 to the ticket agent. Then they have costs and add them on.

    If they were operating like the Royal Opera House box office, the price would be £80 or whatever and just include the costs.

    People get weird about this stuff. You’re already spending £100 to see Ms Swift from half a mile away. Probably £100 for the hotel for the place you’re going. Another £40-50 for the train. £50 for meals. £50 for ludicrously overpriced drinks and merch at the venue. Call it £350 in total, and you’re going to get animated about £10? And after 2 or 3 times, you know Ticketmaster are going to charge that, So your tickets aren’t going to be £80 they’re going to be £90.

    I honestly can’t give too much of a toss about people spending this sort of money on a single gig. Or complaining that football teams charge them £50 for a replica shirt. Grow up. This isn’t a necessity, it isn’t even the bulk of gigs, or entertainment. You can have a great time spending £15 to see Dune 2 in IMAX, or going to see the jazz trio playing in my local pub for the price of a G&T. One of my favourite gigs was Caro Emerald in Bath. £35 a ticket. With train and a burger from Schwartz Bros it was about £50 for the whole evening.

  8. “… older people don’t shift to classical music.”

    I have a theory which is that you never really get to like your kids’ music, but as you get older you come to appreciate your parents’’. I’m sure I must have heard Miss Swift’s music played somewhere, though I didn’t recognize it, but I find I do listen to more and more jazz now and less of the Stones, Springsteen or Dylan.

  9. Since 2000 the cost of housing has gone up far more than anything else (apart from going to uni).
    As this is a big and essential expense why complain about anything else?

  10. Good for frigging ticketmaster – they didn’t rip people off like the fyre festival was it (that was tableist), or some willy wonka dodgy nativity play set in the new forest where santa gives your kid a coke and a cuddle next to a douglas fir sprayed with fake icing for some massive number of sterlings. I expect that all the COOP Live people get refunded, and all the staff get paid national legal wage.
    Sure, places with volunteer staff are great too, but the fact that there’s nowhere in between is down to the government which makes it illegal for consenting adults to exchange labour at a price between £0.01 and £11.43 an hour. Plenty of music buffs would steward a concert for £5, a chat, and a soda.
    Nevertheless, watching live music has never been better than now.

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