OPINION: Ticketmaster’s sales lack control and equity


Rebecca LaBarge

Taylor Swift fans filed a lawsuit against Ticketmaster for alleged antitrust violations and deceptive practices.

As a long-time Taylor Swift fan attempts to buy tickets to their first concert for “The Eras Tour,” they are shocked when the website crashes and later are informed that they will no longer have the chance to purchase tickets for their favorite artist’s performance in their hometown. 

Recently, Ticketmaster proved itself unable to provide a sufficient amount of tickets for Taylor Swift’s upcoming tour, “The Eras Tour.” The original pre-sale date had been pushed back due to the website crashing. On the new pre-sale date, tickets sold out immediately. Ticketmaster came up short. 

KQED reported that Ticketmaster leads in the most ticket sales for musical artists due to their connection with the biggest stadiums available. According to Second Measure, Ticketmaster accounts for 66% of sales, making it the top website for purchasing concert tickets, therefore generating an unfair dynamic between both artists’ control of their sales and fans’ abilities to buy tickets. Ticketmaster, however, is also more expensive than other ticket sale websites, making it harder for most fans to buy tickets. 

Ticketmaster’s monopoly on ticketing sales is unfair to both fans and artists, who want connections with the largest, most profitable venues. Ticketmaster holds power over the artists they are serving because they are the biggest vendor, creating an unfair advantage and making it harder for their clients to use any other websites. This advantage, in turn, forces the artists to deal with issues Ticketmaster creates, which was seen in Taylor Swift’s recent ticket sales

Ticketmaster is also often unable to provide for bigger artists, creating chaos for fans. According to Ticket News, Ticketmaster has control over Beyonce’s upcoming tour, “Beyonce’s Renaissance World Tour,” and has used their privilege as the tour’s only vendor to create a surge in prices, angering fans. Increasing price decreases the buyer’s accessibility. 

Fans are not only faced with extreme resale prices, but they also have to deal with initially expensive tickets. In turn, this disrespects the artist. Well-known artists expect more sales and most likely want everyone to have access to tickets. Increasing prices only adds problems for the artist and buyers as the blame may be shifted away from Ticketmaster and onto the artist. Ticketmaster proves how unfair their selling tactics are, but they are able to get away with it because of how much power they have. 

Along with unfairness and lack of control for artists, Ticketmaster is also unable to control all their own ticket sales. In Dec. 2022, PitchFork reported that thousands of fraudulent tickets were sold to Bad Bunny’s concert in Mexico City. This caused Ticketmaster to cancel thousands of tickets, including legitimate ones, fans had bought in advance to the concert selling out. 

As one of the most pervasive ticket vendors, it is essential for Ticketmaster to have control over fraudulent tickets and facilitate more efficient methods of dealing with fraud that do not include punishing legitimate buyers. Incidents like Bad Bunny’s will continue to occur until Ticketmaster learns how to control their sales methods and improve their response to fraudulence.

Although it is frustrating that Ticketmaster is often unable to provide fair ways of selling tickets and dealing with conflicts, Ticketmaster does not expect these issues. Some solutions could include communicating more with their clients and giving them more control over ticket sales and prices. This would help to avoid future conflicts and misunderstandings. In addition, as an important ticket-selling vendor, being aware of matters happening on their own website is a necessary step to ensuring that incidents do not happen. 

Considering that Ticketmaster is one of the biggest ticket vendors on the market, they should be able to take criticism and apply it effectively to give clients and buyers a better experience. Additionally, their top priority should be fairness, showing respect to the artists they are serving and honesty to fans and artists alike.