SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — With summer on the way music fans, sports lovers, and others attending events are going online to purchase tickets before they sell out. One of the most common places to buy tickets is Ticketmaster, the leading ticketing company in North America.
Recently Ticketmaster is facing backlash for issues like pricey added fees, tickets being resold for well above their face value and the near monopoly that Ticketmaster has on the event ticketing industry.
In 2009, Ticketmaster and Live Nation, the world’s largest concert venue owner, agreed to merge. Syracuse.com reporter Geoff Herbert said this merger has led to artists having very little choice about many aspects of their concerts.
“There are a lot of venues out there that will only be allowed to do Ticketmaster events,” Herbert said. “The bigger the artist, the bigger the venue, and Live Nation owns and operates most of those venues which means that they are controlling and essentially have a monopoly on some of these places.”
Recently, hundreds of Taylor Swift fans filed a lawsuit against Ticketmaster and Live Nation. This comes after issues with the ticketing process for The Eras Tour. Fans could sign up for a verified fan pre-sale. This means they could register and potentially get chosen via lottery to get a pre-sale code. Herbert said fans sharing codes with those not chosen overloaded the system and caused Ticketmaster to crash.
“There were maybe a million to 1.5 million tickets to be sold there and there were about 14 million people that were trying to get tickets at the same time,” Herbert said. “One of the issues that they want to try and change is to either improve the ticketing process so that way more fans can get access to tickets or to change the way tickets are rolled out, which is to say if they’re doing a 50 city tour, should all the tickets go on sale the same day at the same time?”
Also aggravating fans are resellers, also known as scalpers, buying large amounts of tickets at face value and reselling them for profit. This has recently gotten out of control with scalpers posting tickets on third-party ticket resale websites. Tickets can be priced at any value on these websites, meaning scalpers can price tickets at multiple times the face value. Many people want to see ticket scalping banned altogether. Herbert said this is unlikely but there are efforts to stop scalper bots.
“One thing that has been banned in New York State is scalper bots, which are computer programs that quickly snatch up hundreds of tickets and then they immediately appear on another website and drive the ticket prices up,” Herbert said. “Nobody thinks it’s fair that people should have to pay more than a concert ticket is worth for an event.”
Herbert said that it is ultimately most important that Ticketmaster and Live Nation keep in mind what artists and fans want.