Ticketmaster is facing serious scrutiny from authorities for anti-competitive measures in Spain, while Live Nation has been accused of fraud in Italy, Pollstar is reporting.
State prosecutors in Milan have accused ticketing operators, including Live Nation (Ticketmaster’s parent company), of misleading customers about sales figures and directly moving tickets from the primary marketplace into the secondary at inflated prices. The latter was admitted to in a TV interview by Live Nation Italy managing director Roberto de Luca last fall.
In Madrid, the city council has accused Ticketmaster of falsely leading consumers to believe shows were close to selling out as well as illicitly directing customers to Seatwave – a secondary ticketing website owned by Ticketmaster – where primary tickets were offered above face value.
These complaints mirror many that have been lodged against the ticketing giants here in the United States, where they are lobbying hard against increased transparency requirements in New York and elsewhere.
Across the Atlantic, there is also a pushback against exclusive contracts with venues that drive much of Ticketmaster/Live Nation’s monopolistic position in the industry. After Bruce Springsteen tickets ended up on secondary websites in early 2016, Claudio Trotta, who owns Barley Arts in Italy, filed a criminal complaint that led to computer fraud charges. Later that year, a rapid sellout of Coldplay shows in Milan led to suspicion that Live Nation Italy and Eventim’s Ticketone – which holds an exclusive resale agreement – dumped huge numbers of tickets on the secondary marketplace to reap the profit from the inflated prices.
“What motivation, if not a financial one, requires exclusivity?” he asked in the interview. He also pointed out that the agreement to make TicketOne the country’s only online sales channel was made 15 years ago and a lot has changed since then, not least market consolidation, which brought companies into Italy that did not honor the agreement to sell exclusively though TicketOne.