US Department of Justice under pressure to break up Ticketmaster for ‘destroying live music’

‘Ticketmaster’s market power over live events is ripping off sports and music fans and undermining the vibrancy and independence of the music industry,’ say campaigners

Bevan Hurley
Friday 21 October 2022 04:11 BST
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A coalition of anti-monopoly activists are calling for the Department of Justice to end Ticketmaster’s domination of ticket sales to major music and sporting events in the United States.

The “Break Up Ticketmaster” campaign is seeking to unwind the 2010 merger between Live Nation and Ticketmaster, that the activist group says gives the ticketing giant more than 70 per cent market share.

“Ticketmaster’s market power over live events is ripping off sports and music fans and undermining the vibrancy and independence of the music industry,” Sarah Miller, Executive Director of the American Economic Liberties Project, said in a statement.

Ms Miller alleged that the companies were violating the terms of their 2010 merger agreement.

“Ticketmaster has abused their market power. It’s time to break them up.”

The soaring cost of live entertainment due to so-called “dynamic pricing” was highlighted when fans complained of being charged $5,000 for tickets to Brice Springsteen’s upcoming tour.

Ticketmaster responded by releasing figures showing 88.2 per cent of tickets sold to Springsteen’s shows had a price of $202, and just 1.3 per cent of tickets went for more than $1,000.

Fans were outraged after tickets after being charged up to $5,000 to see Bruce Springsteen by Ticketmaster

Fans of Harry Styles and Coldplay also reported encountering exorbitant ticket prices due to “dynamic pricing”, which increases during periods of high demand.

Ticketmaster charges service fees, convenience fees, processing fees and facilities fees for many of its live offerings.

It has previously stated that these are determined in collaboration with artists.

Ticketmaster also controls a lucrative secondary marketplace Ticketmaster Resale where it adds additional fees.

“Live Nation-Ticketmaster has been unabashedly raising prices and fees, giving fans no other choice but to give them their hard-earned money to attend events,” More Perfect Union Executive Director Faiz Shakir said in a statement.

“This is an opportunity for the Department of Justice to demonstrate that government is working to protect our best interests by reversing the failed merger of Live Nation-Ticketmaster after a decade of scamming Americans.”

The campaign is encouraging artists, fans and venues to share their stories of price gouging with the Department of Justice, and share the #breakupticketmaster hashtag on social media.

The Department of Justice and Ticketmaster did not respond to requests for comment from The Independent.

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