Decades of Ticketmaster Controversies Involving Artists and Fans

Published May 23, 2024

The U.S. Justice Department has taken legal action against Ticketmaster and Live Nation Entertainment, alleging they have formed an illegal monopoly in the live events sector. This has reportedly led to suppressed competition and increased ticket costs for consumers. The conflict between Ticketmaster, artists, and fans stretches back years, marked by numerous flashpoints.

Pearl Jam’s Standoff with Ticketmaster — 1994

In 1994, the rock band Pearl Jam accused Ticketmaster of exploiting its industry dominance, claiming that the company's practices were preventing venues from booking the band due to their opposition to Ticketmaster's high prices. Pearl Jam contended Ticketmaster held a monopoly over ticket sales due to its ties with performance locations.

Stubhub’s Dispute with Ticketmaster and Golden State Warriors — 2015

StubHub, an online ticket exchange platform, launched a lawsuit against Ticketmaster and the NBA's Golden State Warriors, claiming that the two required fans selling tickets to exclusively use Ticketmaster’s own resale service. StubHub argued this denied consumers the freedom to choose their resale method and artificially inflated ticket prices.

‘Swifties’ Battle with Ticketmaster — 2022

Taylor Swift expressed her discontent on Instagram, sharing her frustration about the difficulties fans experienced when attempting to purchase tickets for her tour. The chaotic presale for Swift’s 'The Eras' tour was plagued by delays and errors, which Ticketmaster attributed to bot attacks and a record-setting demand.

Bruce Springsteen Fans' Frustration with Ticketmaster — 2022

Bruce Springsteen’s supporters were outraged during the sale of his tour tickets, especially due to Ticketmaster’s dynamic pricing model which drastically increased ticket prices in response to high demand. Despite some tickets reaching upwards of $5,000, Ticketmaster stated that the majority of fans were able to purchase them at the regular price, which averaged around $202.

US Senate Scrutinizes Ticketmaster — 2023

The U.S. Senate examined Ticketmaster’s dominance in the entertainment market, sparked by the problems surrounding the sale of Taylor Swift concert tickets. Senators discussed corrective measures, including enforcing non-transferability of tickets to reduce scalping and insisting on clearer fee disclosures. There were also suggestions to separate Ticketmaster from Live Nation to encourage competition, following their merger in 2010 which had been greenlit by the Department of Justice.

Minnesota Responds to Ticket Troubles — 2024

The state of Minnesota introduced a law aimed at providing more transparency and safeguards for individuals purchasing event tickets online. Inspired by frustrations related to acquiring tickets for a Taylor Swift concert, the legislation, known as the Taylor Swift bill, mandates upfront fee disclosures by ticket sellers and bars resellers from offering multiple copies of a single ticket. This law will be applicable to tickets sold for events in Minnesota, taking effect starting January 1, 2025.

antitrust, lawsuit, monopoly