Ticketmaster’s owner shares some ideas for fixing the broken concert ticket business after Taylor Swift fiasco

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Live Nation Entertainment, accused of anti-competitive practices by politicians, proposed reforms to the global concert business, saying they would benefit fans who have struggled to get tickets to see top acts like Taylor Swift.

Elected officials should give artists more control over ticket sales and limit scalper activity, management of the the world’s largest concert promoter said Thursday in a statement accompanying year-end financial results.

Artists should be able to decide how tickets can be resold and by whom, the company said. Across the entire industry, ticket sellers should more openly disclose the full price of tickets, including fees they charge.

Live Nation proposed the changes on the same day it reported record sales of $16.7 billion for 2022, more than double a year ago and up 44% from 2019, the last normal year before Covid-19. The company has posted strong results coming out of the pandemic, taking advantage of soaring demand for in-person experiences. 

Yet high prices to see acts such as Bruce Springsteen and a computer meltdown during sales of Taylor Swift tickets have angered fans and led politicians to clamor for industry reform. 

Artists and competitors say Live Nation has abused its power as the world’s top concert promoter and top ticket seller via its ownership of Ticketmaster. The company operates under a consent decree from when it acquired Ticketmaster and is under investigation by the US Justice Department.

Live Nation and many of its allies have pushed back against the criticism and dismissed politicians as ignorant about their business. They blame scalpers and resellers, as opposed to primary sellers like Ticketmaster.

Country star Garth Brooks called on the government to ban scalping during a panel Wednesday at a conference hosted by the music industry trade publication Pollstar.

Irving Azoff, the most powerful artist manager in the music business, moderated the session alongside Brooks, former Justice Department lawyer Makan Delrahim and billionaire James Dolan, whose company owns Madison Square Garden. 

Live Nation doesn’t want to ban scalpers, but wants to limit their ability take advance orders for shows before tickets are actually on sale. It also called for the expansion of the BOTS (Better Online Ticket Sales) act to neuter the computer programs that vacuum up tickets. 

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