Ticketmaster has been at the forefront of scrutiny from music fans, touring musicians, and even the U.S. government in recent months. After a massive debacle with their presale system that wound up barring thousands of customers with fan verified presale codes from purchasing tickets at all, Ticketmaster’s parent company, Live Nation, was made to appear at a U.S. Senate judiciary hearing in January.
At the hearing, musician Clyde Lawrence of the New York City-based Lawrence expressed artists’ issues with venue fees, and the ticketing company’s highly inflated processing fees that give little to no profit to artists. Additionally, artists are left with little control over the pricing of their own tickets, making it especially difficult for young fans to attend their shows.
Live Nation is a ticketing conglomerate that currently controls the vast majority of the ticketing market in both music and professional sports. Their domination over the market has led several Senators to argue that it potentially violates anti-trust legislation, which could result in a Ticketmaster and Live Nation split.
After nearly three months of an ongoing ethical debate surrounding Ticketmaster, two vastly different, yet highly acclaimed artists had their tickets go on sale on the platform today. Fans of rapper Drake and 80s goth-rock band The Cure were met with disappointment at ticketing fees today, and many voiced their opinions on the matter on Twitter.
Anyone trying to buy #TheCure tickets and had success? My husband keeps finding tickets on #Ticketmaster and getting an error saying "They cannot purchase them on this device."
— Nicole Pajer (@NicolePajer) March 15, 2023
Am i looking at these Drake ticket prices right? pic.twitter.com/uPLAO24euB
— C (@Chrisbegreat) March 15, 2023
One culture journalist was quick to point out the curious nature of the whole situation. Given that Taylor Swift fans began to build the case against Ticketmaster, it is an interesting phenomenon that the same problems continue to effect artists from vastly different genres who have different demographics of fans.
goths and swifties united against ticketmaster pic.twitter.com/55XTmYjOFV
— Jill_Krajewski on IG (@JillKrajewski) March 15, 2023
When you are When you are
screwed out of screwed out of
Taylor Swift tickets The Cure tickets
by Ticketmaster: by Ticketmaster: pic.twitter.com/jkLjvhWH4x
— Mike Beauvais (@MikeBeauvais) March 15, 2023
As commentary on today’s ticketing issues continues to swirl on social media, The Cure’s frontman Robert Smith took to Twitter to explain that the artists have no power over determining the fees. Smith additionally criticized Ticketmaster’s dynamic pricing policy.
(WE DIDN’T AGREE TO THE 'DYNAMIC PRICING' / 'PRICE SURGING’ / ‘PLATINUM TICKET' THING… BECAUSE IT IS ITSELF A BIT OF A SCAM? A SEPARATE CONVERSATION!)
— ROBERT SMITH (@RobertSmith) March 15, 2023
Smith notably priced his tickets relatively low, some even for $20 a piece, so as to improve accessibly for The Cure’s fan base. Their 1987 hit song “Just Like Heaven” was recently featured in an episode of HBO’s highly acclaimed dystopian drama The Last Of Us, which likely garnered more Gen Z fans. Fans of The Cure voiced support for Smith, understanding that the hiked prices were likely due to Ticketmaster’s policies.
You try to do the right thing by your fans and then TM slaps fees on that add up to more than the face value. Thank you for trying to make it accessible to us.
— Erbie is boosted! (@ErbieMac) March 15, 2023
On the other end of the spectrum, ticket purchasers for Drake’s upcoming tour were slapped with high prices no matter what arena seats they chose.
$200+ for nosebleed drake tickets is criminal…. TICKETMASTER YOU WILL CRUMBLE pic.twitter.com/NTd2t5eFCF
— yassmin ♥ (@yassminziad) March 15, 2023
mom: who tf sold our house?
me at Drake’s concert: pic.twitter.com/kEs3lT5iPZ
— 𝓚♛ (@kikisterr) March 13, 2023
Amid the initial frustration of both situations, music fans continue to hold Ticketmaster accountable for the anxiety inducing ticketing process that continues to dominate several prominent artists’ tours.
there needs to be a national appreciation day for the girls that handle concert ticket purchases for their friend group no one person should have to bear the weight of the ticketmaster queue anxiety alone
— 𝐋𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐡𝐚 (@bylarisha) March 15, 2023
Besides the exorbitant fees, tech issues also continue to rise amid a high volume of customers. The site has not been able to resolve these issues since Taylor Swift’s presale months ago.
lol no wonder the Swifties are suing Ticketmaster. Getting tickets for the Cure has been a clown show, error messages and blank windows galore
— Suzy Exposito (@HexPositive) March 15, 2023
Regardless of the artist that fans are desperately trying to see, several music communities agree that Ticketmaster is the problem. Many agree with U.S. Senator Blumenthal of Connecticut’s assessment–that, to quote Swift’s hit song “Anti-Hero,” “Ticketmaster ought to look in the mirror and say ‘I’m the problem it’s me.'”