Live Nation and Ticketmaster’s merger in 2010 has caused an uproar in recent years, with industry executives, concert attendees, and even politicians alleging that the entertainment giant and ticketing company have become a monopoly in the world of ticketing. Now, a new survey has found that a majority of Americans want the pair to be broken-up.
Ticketmaster and its parent Live Nation have made headlines over the past year following the Taylor Swift ticketing fiasco. More than two dozen lawsuits were filed against the pair, claiming that during the ticket sale to Swift’s Eras Tour, Live Nation and Ticketmaster “engaged in fraud, price fixing, antitrust violations, and even ‘intentional deception.'” This sparked a formal investigation into the merger by the Department of Justice.
A new online survey, conducted by Global Strategy Group Guidant Polling & Strategy and commissioned by secondary ticketing site SeatGeek, offered a short explanation of the merger and the DOJ’s investigation. After receiving the information, 60% of respondents said they support the federal government seeking to break-up Live Nation and Ticketmaster, according to The Hill.
The publication reported the poll found support was shared by 72% of democrats, 50% of republicans, and 46% of independents, with just 19% saying they would oppose breaking up the company.
These results don’t necessarily come as a surprise, as fans have ultimately been fed-up with both companies during recent ticket sales for big-name artists. No matter the genre, the outcome is the same: fans are required to register ahead of time to receive a special code for presale tickets via Ticketmaster, a majority are left “waitlisted,” and those who are actually able to enter the system are unable to purchase tickets due to exorbitant prices.
Ticketmaster’s platinum and dynamic pricing policies surge ticket prices, leaving many fans priced-out from seeing their favorite artists like Olivia Rodrigo, Noah Kahan, Morgan Wallen, and Bad Bunny. While Ticketmaster and its parent try to portray the fact that the secondary market is to blame, it’s easy to see that they hold a majority control of the ticketing industry; the pair act as venue owners and operators, ticket sellers, and promoters — all simultaneously.
According to the Wall Street Journal, a source familiar with the matter said the DOJ is probing Live Nation on whether or not is uses anticompetitive agreements with venues and artists, including any agreements that restrict a venue to work with any other promoters or ticket services.
SeatGeek has been an active voice in the industry, calling for a break-up of the merger. During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, D.C. this past January, SeatGeek CEO Jack Groetzinger noted that Brooklyn’s Barclay’s Center decided to switch back to Ticketmaster after only a year of using SeatGeek as its official ticketing provider because the venue’s leadership was weary that Live Nation would send shows to other venues in the New York market over their own.
“The only way to restore competition in this industry is to break up Ticketmaster and Live Nation,” Groetzinger told the committee.
SeatGeek isn’t alone. Legislators like Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Mike Lee (R-UT) have called-out the company’s market power. During a hearing held by the Senate Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights, Klobuchar said the merger “has decimated competition in the ticketing industry and resulted in higher fees for consumers.”
Klobuchar also called-out Live Nation last month to enact on its promise of all-in pricing, making ticket costs more transparent for fans. While Live Nation noted that it already fulfilled its promise to disclose prices at venues it operates, Klobuchar pushed back, saying “they can show how much the ticket costs, and that’s what they need to do.”
Nonetheless, Live Nation continues to show its strength in the industry; the company released its earnings report for the third quarter of 2023, showcasing revenue up 32% to $8.2 billion, selling 140 million tickets year-to-date.
Last Updated on November 14, 2023