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Ticketmaster's scalping problem faces wrath from Swifties, US government

Ticketmaster is the go-to place to get concert tickets, but that designation comes with problems. – Photo by @Ticketmaster / Twitter

Live events are a huge part of many people’s lives in the world today. Whether it’s a concert, sporting event or festival of some sort, millions of people attend and find joy in live events every year.

For me personally, I’ve always treasured going to concerts and music festivals so deeply. Getting the opportunity to see your favorite artist, who you listen to on a daily basis, perform live is such a special experience. When you get to hear your favorite songs in person, coupled with the performance they put on and the high energy of the crowd, it truly makes for an unforgettable memory.

Obtaining tickets to concerts and live performances used to be much simpler a couple of years ago, but it's become increasingly difficult as time has gone on. When I was in high school, buying tickets was a smooth, painless process where I was able to purchase the seats or VIP packages that I wanted with little to no stress.

In recent years, trying to buy a concert ticket has increasingly felt like fighting through a feral crowd on Black Friday. Fans fight to get a presale code and then have to mentally prepare leading up to the time of the presale. When the presale finally hits, it becomes a battle just to get any seat or a ticket at all rather than taking time to search for a seat you actually want.

In the past year alone, I’ve tried to get tickets to multiple different concerts to no avail. At the end of last year, I tried to get both a presale code and tickets to Olivia Rodrigo's Sour Tour and failed. It was later revealed that the concert's quick sell-out was highly attributed to ticket scalpers.

Earlier this year I tried to buy tickets to Charli XCX’s CRASH: The Live Tour, also to no avail. The tickets sold out almost immediately, again, with many being resold on sites like StubHub for thousands of dollars almost instantaneously.

The most recent disaster that was Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour presale has brought the conversation back to the forefront: Why is buying a concert ticket in 2022 practically impossible?

As the pandemic has continued to wind down, more and more concerts and festivals have begun returning. Many artists had to cancel their previously scheduled shows in 2020 due to the pandemic, but new lenient regulations and protocols have allowed for live events to happen again as they used to.

The surge in demand for live events has caused never before seen turnout to ticket presales and general sales. In combination with the immense rise of ticket scalpers and bots, the market for concert tickets has become more competitive than ever before.

Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti recently announced that he is investigating Ticketmaster and Live Nation, two entities that merged in 2010 to create Live Nation Entertainment, Inc. 

Ticketmaster has been heavily criticized by fans over the past few years for its hold on the live event industry. The conglomerate reportedly controls more than 70 percent of all primary ticketing and live event venues, leading to a significant lack of competition in the industry, which could characterize it as a monopoly. The investigations will work to decipher whether Live Nation Entertainment has violated U.S. antitrust legislation, laws that work to promote competition and prevent unfair monopolies.

While the surge in demand is understandable in a post-pandemic world, there's no reason that buying concert tickets should be an emotionally draining, overly expensive and nearly impossible feat.

All fans should have an equal opportunity to see their favorite artists live. It shouldn't be limited to those who just barely scored a presale ticket or others who can afford to pay the outlandish prices that ticket scalpers are requesting on reselling platforms such as StubHub.

The rise of ticket scalpers and bots is absolutely absurd. There’s no reason why an artist’s tickets should be bought up by greedy people (who aren’t even fans!) just so they can turn a high profit for themselves.

Until demand decreases, conglomerates let go of their practical monopolies or bots and ticket scalpers are dealt with, no resolution can truly be reached. Until then, be prepared for intense competition to score a concert ticket to see your favorite artist.

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