PHOTO COURTESY OF NPR
Protester-made shirts against Ticketmaster
Caroline Averitt is a junior multimedia journalism major from Jonesboro
Beyoncé fans faced outrageous ticket prices and unbearable wait times on Ticketmaster just last week. Taylor Swift fans know that pain all too well.
In Nov. 2022, many Taylor Swift fans waited for hours by their computers, desperately trying to secure tickets to the upcoming Eras Tour. An overwhelming majority faced several hours of waiting only to exceed their budgets or not get tickets at all.
Ticketmaster blamed the issues on high demand, but their pricing and virtual monopoly in the industry caused Swifties to lash out. The backlash from the Swifties led to congressional hearings which examined the company’s corrupt practices. Months later, the Beyhive faced the same issues, causing even more anger toward the company.
As someone who waited in the Ticketmaster queue for Eras tickets, I too feel anger toward Ticketmaster. I waited for about eight hours in the queue.
Once past the queue, I selected seats that, before I could pay for them, got snapped up by someone else. Though a completely virtual experience, I can only describe it as cutthroat. I finally got the tickets I wanted, but not without a fight.
Ticketmaster tacks on a ridiculous amount of fees to their customers’ purchases. But the steep prices mostly arise from the dynamic pricing. In economics, dynamic pricing refers to the cost of items fluctuating based on different factors, often demand.
With Ticketmaster, dynamic pricing raises ticket prices with increased site traffic. This means for popular performers, like Taylor Swift and Beyoncé, who bring legions of fans to the site, Ticketmaster can essentially charge whatever they want.
While performers have to consent to the use of dynamic pricing, the way Ticketmaster handles it drives up the prices of tickets to thousands of dollars.
Ticketmaster practically monopolizes the industry. In 2010, Live Nation merged with Ticketmaster to overwhelmingly control the ticketing industry. While not inherently bad, monopolies create issues when those companies abuse their position, and Ticketmaster definitely abuses its position.
Three months after the Eras tour fiasco, Ticketmaster still holds a spot in the news as it has not fixed its obvious and serious problems. From site crashes to through-the-roof prices, eyes have turned toward Ticketmaster, earning them a spotlight of infamy.
Ticketmaster needs to be held accountable for their greed. With its monopoly, fans have no choice but to buy from them unless they want resold tickets for 10 times the price. Even their hearings showed bipartisan rage against them, and it takes a lot for the parties to stand together in today’s political climate.
Like a young child, the company cast the blame elsewhere, refusing to take responsibility for their irrefutable issues. Apparently, the issues arose from bots buying up tickets to resell even though the company claims to have taken preventative measures against that very problem.
With the widespread nature of fan culture, Ticketmaster knows they prey on vulnerable people who will stop at nothing to see their favorite artists. I know I felt an insatiable need to secure tickets to see Taylor Swift.
Action needs to be taken. Maybe another congressional hearing could help, maybe another company could arise to break the monopoly. But standing idly by allows the corruption of Ticketmaster to go unchecked.
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