AOC denounces the merger between Ticketmaster and Live Nation – Rolling Stone
living nation and Ticketmaster is once again facing serious backlash from music fans, this time after the disastrous on-sale period for Taylor Swift’s upcoming Eras Tour that angered thousands of Swifties as the website Ticketmaster crashed and crashed due to overwhelming demand for tickets.
Customers have bemoaned the same issues they’ve had for years with Ticketmaster, drawing the attention of politicians looking for answers. Last week, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) sent a letter to Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino expressing her antitrust concerns. Last Friday, news broke that the Department of Justice was investigating Live Nation, with the investigation beginning before Swift’s sale even began. Multiple live music sources tell rolling stone that federal investigators had contacted them in recent weeks with general questions about antitrust issues with Live Nation.
New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was one of the first politicians to slam the live music giant during the latest controversy last week, tweeting a “daily reminder that Ticketmaster is a monopoly, its merger with Live Nation should never have been approved, and they need to be brought under control,” and calling for the termination of the merger.
Several sources in the live music industry who have spoken with rolling stone questioned how a monopolistic environment had impacted Swift’s sales, noting that Swift’s show had seen unprecedented demand and could have overwhelmed any other box office. (Live Nation President Greg Maffei told CNBC last week that he expected 1.5 million fans to enter the site during the on-sale period, but 14 million, including bots, visited. He further claimed that it would take 900 stadiums for Swift to meet the Ticketmaster request saw.)
In a detailed statement over the weekend, Live Nation said the concert promotion and secondary markets are extremely competitive, and that its dominance in the primary market is “due to the wide gap between the quality of the system Ticketmaster and the next best primary”. ticketing system. Live Nation also said it was operating under a consent decree, adding that there was no evidence of “systemic violations” of that order. Additionally, he added that Ticketmaster does not decide event ticket prices.
In an interview with rolling stone, Ocasio-Cortez, a member of the Congressional Committee on Economic Disparity and Equity in Growth, expands on his call to break up the corporations and addresses issues in the broader ticketing market, citing numerous complaints from fans and others industry insiders. years such as fee hikes and an out of control resale market.
I was watching what was happening with the pre-release of Taylor Swift tickets. It came on a more personal level; In fact, I have quite a few employees trying to get tickets that day. Between seeing their experience and seeing everyone online talking about it, I think it really showed how widespread the problem is and reflects the degree of market consolidation in this industry.
It builds on the work I focused on with the Select Committee on Economic Inequality. I focused on monopoly power in markets. One of the things we are seeing more and more is that these price increases due to inflation and abuse of market power are due to market consolidation. It’s gotten so bad that we really see it affecting our daily lives, from the price we pay in grocery stores to not being able to see our favorite artists without paying an arm and a leg.
I remember the merger was a problem for a long time when it was approved in 2010. [era] has a lot to do with my own political background. There were a lot of decisions made at the time that really distinguished between a more neoliberal order and this emerging social movement with Occupy and all the stuff that really challenged that intra-democratic party difference towards economic policy. Between prices and fees, everyone who has bought tickets in the past 10 years has seen how much worse things have gotten.
I support the dismantling of this merger. I don’t believe it should have been approved in the first place.
I support the dismantling of this merger. I don’t believe it should have been approved in the first place. I hope the DOJ investigation will reveal just how serious the abuse of market share and power is, and how it has played a role in the prices everyday consumers see. The big question is how do they justify a service charge that is between 20-100% of the ticket price? It’s really hard to defend.
We saw even before the merger, you have the history of objections to Ticketmaster’s monopoly power, going back to Pearl Jam in the mid-90s. We already had concerns about Ticketmaster and monopoly power before 2010. But now you have the biggest ticket seller in the country with the biggest promoter in the country. Our concerns here can affect everyone. This could prevent artists from being able to run shows however they want, from promotions to how tickets are sold and structured. And it affects the fans because they are absolutely ripped off. You pay way more than the base ticket price to go to the show, but on top of that, what we’re seeing more of is the absolute explosion of the resale market.
It gets to a point where if you want to see one of these great acts there’s so little protection for regular people that if you go into a secondary market we’re not in that area anymore where somebody charges even double what a ticket was. Tickets go so high [tens of thousands of dollars] after what was to be a pre-sale operation aimed at people who will actually use the tickets they buy.
It doesn’t look like a competitive market in any way.
When Ticketmaster and Live Nation merged, they had a consent decree under which they were supposed to operate. They almost immediately violated the consent decree to the point that it was renegotiated in 2019. The idea that we’re now in compliance with the consent decree, it’s not the same consent decree as the original. I think there is a selective discussion there. It doesn’t look like a competitive market in any way.
These exclusive offers from Ticketmaster reveal the absence of real competition and [getting rid of those deals] is something to explore. It would be a really big deal if this merger were undone. From promotion to ticket sales to accommodation and merchandise, all of these things from start to finish are under one entity, and it’s very difficult for artists or even the market itself to introduce the choice. Hopefully one thing would happen that each of these entities could even pursue their own arrangement. But having everything under one roof affects the entire live music supply chain.
Artists can definitely play a role here, not only making decisions for themselves or how they run their shows, but also impressing key players in the industry to make it fairer for artists and performers alike. fans. I believe dismantling fusion can help artists wield that power even more, because it also becomes a role here where artists make their own decisions. But when one company controls so many aspects of the industry, it can lead to increased pressure on artists.
As demand outstrips supply, you have resellers coming in the first round. In many cases you have people who are in the first round of buying tickets for the express purpose of reselling them, and so that secondary market becomes more and more a primary market because regular people don’t even have the chance to do so in the first place. To Taylor Swift’s credit, there was an attempt to pre-sell verified fans to combat some of these issues, but it clearly didn’t work in all circumstances.
And so, whether it’s government coming into play here, whether it’s artists coming into play here, there are absolutely rules and mechanisms that can be put forward that people can consider. For example, having a cap on resale value to try to set a limit for how much a ticket can be inflated in the secondary market.
These are steps that could be taken privately, or if there is enough pressure and support through public institutions as well. Overall, this is becoming a major issue, and it’s going to take actors from all sides who are committed to changing this issue really coming together.
This is not our first monopoly that we are trying to oppose this year. For example, we have tackled the meat processing industry, soybeans, etc. What differentiates Ticketmaster is that in this industry, there really isn’t a top four. Between 55 and 85 percent of meat processing in the United States comes down to four companies. When you look at an industry like ticketing, you barely have four. Ticketmaster is by far the industry giant. When the concentration is such, it is distinctive.
Other industries have oligopolies; Live Nation is a real monopoly. And it affects our culture if ordinary people can’t even see a live show for a major act in person anymore, and it just becomes a domain for the wealthy. I think that’s also something to consider, because if you can’t even see your favorite artists without paying [the equivalent of] a down payment on a house or a car, it’s so antithetical to what music really is.
As said to Ethan Millman.