Ticketmaster has been under the spotlight lately due to its mishandling of the Taylor Swift Eras Tour presale. This sparked fans and some politicians to call for an investigation into the ticket vendor for possible antitrust violations and its monopoly over the live music industry. But did you know that this isn’t the first time that Ticketmaster has been under scrutiny? Music fans have brought up the Seattle rock band, Pearl Jam, and its attempt to fight against the ticket vendors back in the 90s.
A quick history lesson, Ticketmaster became the go-to ticket vendor as a way to make it easier for music goers to purchase tickets without waiting in line for long hours at the venue. However, this led to them controlling the market. The ticket vendor was accused of including non-necessary fees on tickets that were meant to be affordable.
Then enters Pearl Jam.
According to Rolling Stone, the music group filed a formal investigation against Ticketmaster to the Department of Justice and sought to sell tickets to their 1995 tour through alternate means. However, the DOJ closed the investigation and Ticketmaster celebrated its victory. Yahoo!News reported that Pearl Jam was concerned about Ticketmaster’s monopoly with venues to ensure that it had “cement control over the distribution of tickets to concerts.”
This failed attempt to have Ticketmaster investigated is the reason why the band is trending today. In the 90s, Pearl Jam was one of the biggest music acts in America and they couldn’t do anything to stop Ticketmaster’s control and rising monopoly in the live music industry. This year, Taylor Swift has significantly more influence compared to the rock group due to her numerous achievements. But despite recent events and what happened in the past, older music fans have their doubts.
If one of America’s biggest music acts in the 90s couldn’t stop this, what makes them think that Swift would change anything? Pearl Jam knew what was happening and tried to stop it when it started but failed.
People didn’t believe in Pearl Jam back then and now, young music goers are paying the price, literally. It took music fans nearly 30 years to realize that the rock band was right. Now, Ticketmaster holds a majority of the live music industry in America.
Despite the doubts, some believed Swift could finish what Pearl Jam started all those years ago. It all depends if Swift “really does care about her fans,” or if she’s also in it for the money. Neither Swift nor her representatives have said anything about the fiasco, and instead released her fifth remix for ‘Anti-Hero.‘
This fiasco isn’t an isolated situation that happened with these two bands. iHeart Radio reported that Mark Hoppus from Blink-182 attempted to buy tickets for his own show to see what the situation was like, only to have failed due to Ticketmaster’s “dynamic pricing” model. Unfortunately, they also couldn’t do anything about it.
“I understand that the ticketing can be frustrating. I bought tickets for two of our shows myself just to see what the experience was like. I had tickets yoinked from my cart and the whole thing crash out. Dynamic pricing. I’m not in charge of it. It’s meant to discourage scalpers. We’re trying to bring you the best possible show for the best price.”
So far, only two politicians have announced supporting a formal investigation against Ticketmaster. Meanwhile, second-hand tickets for the Eras Tour went out of hand as they’re now being sold for over $90,000 USD. Live Nation’s CEO revealed that over 14 million people attempted to buy tickets during the pre-sale when only 1.5 million codes were sent out through the verified fan program.
The Eras Tour presale should be a huge indicator of how far this monopoly has gone and it’s up to musicians, fans, and the government to do something about it. If not, history is going to repeat itself once more.