The return of concerts and the growing monopoly that is Ticketmaster

As we all know, the pandemic ruined many concert-goers’ experiences. Various concerts around the world were cancelled due to the life-changing pandemic. Now that we’re leaving this era of isolation behind for the Eras Tour, artists have begun to announce tours around the world prompting excitement from fans everywhere. With the economic downturn of the pandemic, artists have shown consideration for fans and set original ticket prices as low as possible. Yet, sites such as Ticketmaster have failed to protect these prices. Instead Ticketmaster has continuously enabled resellers to charge tickets at double the cost. This destroys the accessibility offered by artists to their fans from all walks of life.  

In this school year alone, two major artists have released tour dates and tickets. The first artist is the ever-popular, Harry Styles. Harry Styles announced his “Love on Tour” for 2022, and it broke the internet. Millions of fans flocked to sign up for presales and searched for methods to secure themselves a spot in line for a ticket. But yet again, when the time came, all of those who were subject to waiting in line received reseller tickets that were often double or even triple the cost of the original value.  

 The second artist to break the internet, is the iconic Taylor Swift. The Eras Tour has been everywhere throughout Lincoln-Way Central. There are students who signed up for presale, and more, just to get a spot in line. Some got their presale code, while others such as myself, were waitlisted. The Eras Tour caused so much commotion, that the Ticketmaster website even crashed. Fans everywhere were heartbroken and in shambles due to the inability to get tickets.   

In response to the crash, Ticketmaster decided to cancel the general admissions sale. Instead of limiting the amount of tickets bought by a single user, Ticketmaster continued to enable resellers. Resellers bought tickets and increased the prices as high as $22,000. This has been going on for years, as Ticketmaster has become a monopoly that simply allows others to sell otherwise cheap tickets and make them overpriced.  

Many of our classmates understand our struggles with Ticketmaster, so I took the time to interview Alyssa Maves and Karol Sanchez. I began by asking them what their personal experiences were overall, and if they genuinely enjoyed Ticketmaster or not. Alyssa expressed that for the most part, Ticketmaster has not been as problematic in her experiences. She only found it difficult to purchase tickets when it came to a popular artist. As Alyssa stated, “Overall, Ticketmaster seems like an organized way to purchase tickets for any music artist, with the exception of when tickets are in very high demand.” Thankfully, Alyssa has not been prone to bad experiences on the website as others have. Karol, on the other hand, explained that they had never had a positive experience with the site as they were constantly thrown into a stressful and frustrating situation.  

These weren’t the only students I heard describe their experiences this way. Yet, I was curious to know what their worst experience with the site was. Alyssa, like many, had her worst experience with the Taylor Swift Eras Tour. She admitted that her experience wasn’t as bad compared to others, yet she firmly believed that Ticketmaster handled the high demand sale poorly. Alyssa stated, “The queue for the Chicago Show was paused for a few hours, and one of the codes I was using got kicked out of line. I was eventually able to buy tickets, but I know many people who had struggles and were not able to.” Through poor decisions and system errors, Ticketmaster yet again has ruined the experience of getting tickets and having the ability to see your favorite artist in person.

Thousands were subject to these faulty codes that Alyssa experienced, yet weren’t as lucky in achieving their goal. Karol’s worst experience was with the Stray Kids world tour. They mentioned that they had three devices in order to get a chance at tickets. Albeit, they still had to wait in a queue for 4 hours straight! Then, once they got to the front of the line, all that was left were “Official Platinum” tickets, that were being sold at $1,000+, when at face value they were $100-$200 at most. The worst part is, these weren’t reseller tickets this time, but tickets from Ticketmaster themselves. This only proves that Ticketmaster is simply an ongoing monopoly. They control various stadiums that are only Ticketmaster-exclusive, and they control the ticket sales of some of the biggest stars.

Even though the majority of consumers face horrific experiences with Ticketmaster, the site never succumbs to this due to their dominance in the field. It is simply an ongoing war for fans, where they often lose the chance to create a memorable experience with their favorite artists. Between Ticketmaster and the resellers on the site, an ongoing profit continues to grow. Speaking of resellers, I asked both Alyssa and Karol on their opinions regarding resellers and their prices. Alyssa explained that she felt that reselling tickets, especially for artists that are in high demand, is an unfair way to make money. It is an understandable situation if someone cannot go later on, but that does not excuse buying tickets with the intent of making a profit. Likewise, Karol criticized resellers heavily, stating, “Concerts should be an experience that everyone should get to see and enjoy. Resellers take advantage of people’s love for their favorite music and artist. There’s no reason ticket prices should be so expensive.” Yet, Karol mentioned that they believed resellers had potential to be good. Resellers could offer tickets to those who weren’t able to purchase tickets earlier. They make a good point, but there is truly no hope for any regulations being set on resellers, as Ticketmaster doesn’t account for the experience of their users.  

So, what can we truly do in order to create a more positive experience when it comes to Ticketmaster? Ticketmaster in the past year has fallen to many criticisms due to its poor handling of many concerts – not only in the U.S but all around the world fans have been sold tickets that are invalid at the gate. We need to call for change. We need to do whatever we can in order to bring attention to this threatening monopoly because it seems that Ticketmaster needs a new ticket for success.