A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

Opinion: The tyrannical rule of Ticketmaster

Don’t be a slave to the music industry, man
Emelle Raschein
Ulyssescfm, a local rock band performs at the Phoenix Theater in Petaluma April 14, 2023. The ever-growing prices of concert tickets have been slowly killing music scenes of all kinds. Buying tickets through your venue is often times a cheaper alternative than buying from Ticketmaster.

When was the last time you bought your concert tickets directly from a venue? As a seasoned concertgoer, I urge you to free yourself from money-hungry ticket-selling monopolies like Ticketmaster and buy straight from the source.

Ticketmaster has been in hot water since Taylor Swift fans all over the world sued the reseller for overselling venues, overcharging for tickets and purposely causing chaos and site crashes. Though the lawsuit against Ticketmaster — owned by parent company, Live Nation — was dropped in early December 2023, mega resellers have continued to tear apart the music industry with outrageous prices and ticket complications.

The music industry has been known to be a money-mongering industry for quite some time, however, the ever-growing prices of concert tickets have been slowly killing music scenes of all kinds since the early ’90s. 

The late, great Kurt Kobain, of Nirvana, quite famously condemned Madonna for selling tickets for $50. Now in 2024, I rarely see tickets go for less than $100 a pop. Yes, this is mostly due to inflation and the rising cost of everything, however, companies like Ticketmaster charge nearly twice what venues charge per ticket.

Don’t believe me? Here is a great example; I bought two general admission floor tickets for a Bikini Kill show at The Warfield in San Francisco just a few weeks ago for about $60 each and currently Ticketmaster is selling the same general admission seats for $167 each. That’s just the base price for the tickets without including fees, taxes and ticket insurance.

Since Ticketmaster was first called out for its rising prices in 2023, it has put on its defensive face. The company’s blog posted a reply to consumers questioning their high prices: “In the ongoing antitrust attacks on Live Nation and Ticketmaster, a constant theme is that their alleged ‘monopolies,’ are responsible for high ticket prices. Rhetorically, that’s understandable, because if you want to rile up fans against Live Nation and Ticketmaster, there is no better way than to blame them for something you know fans dislike.”

Although Ticketmaster doesn’t like to be labeled as a monopoly, it made up 70% of all e-ticket sales in 2022. It can deny the label as much as it likes, but according to the U.S. Department of Justice, “monopolization is rarely found when the defendant’s share of the relevant market is below 70%.” *Cricket sounds* That sounds like a monopoly to me.

The blog goes on to claim that only 5-7% of the service fees go towards the company, and venues earn the rest. This would be impressive, however, according to Sign House, Ticketmaster sells nearly 500 million event tickets per year and raked in $12.4 billion in 2022. Not to mention the former CEO and board member of Ticketmaster, Terry Barnes, is currently selling his Paso Robles Wine Country home for $15 million. It’s difficult to applaud a company for only taking 7% of all service fees when stats prove it makes around $3,636 per second.

There is a good reason for Ticketmaster’s blog post, though it does seem like a desperate attempt to save itself from the Swifties. However determined fans may be, Ticketmaster’s prices did not drop, and sales continued to steadily rise over the years. Though there seems to be no end to Ticketmaster’s rule over the industry, I theorize their growth may be their demise. With the way that the company steadily grows over the years, it won’t be long until its sales make up 90% of the industry’s sales, which will hopefully attract the attention of the good ole United States government. That or people will agree with this article and stop buying resale tickets altogether, which will cause a steep drop in ticket prices, and give live-music fans exactly what they want.

In the end, if you want to buy concert tickets but don’t want to put your hard-earned cash straight into the pocket of “The Man,” then buy straight from the source. Instead of clicking on the first reseller site that pops up, go to the homepage of your venue and at least check to see the ticket prices before opting for a reseller. I find that every time I double-check, the venue sells tickets for much cheaper than Ticketmaster, and if you prefer e-tickets like I do, they often can send you your ticket links much faster than ticket resellers.

However, I should warn you, double, triple and quadruple check to make sure that the site you are purchasing tickets from is indeed authentic. Even the most seasoned concertgoers get scammed a time or two.

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About the Contributor
Emelle Raschein
Emelle Raschein, Reporter
Emelle Raschein (she/her) is in her first semester at the Oak Leaf and is pursuing a degree in journalism.

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