There has been a lot of buzz lately about Ticketmaster and how much discretion they have when it comes to ticket prices. 

Things came to a head earlier last week when demand for tickets to Taylor Swift’s highly sought-after ‘Eras Tour’ led to the site crashing during pre-sale. Roughly 2.4 million people purchased tickets for that tour Tuesday (15), setting a single-day sales record for the site, even though fans were subject to a myriad of issues and skyrocketing dynamic pricing. Subsequently, Ticketmaster canceled the tour’s general on-sale, saying that “extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand” forced their hand. 

Now Avenged Sevenfold frontman M. Shadows has weighed in on the controversy and given his opinion on Ticketmaster’s dynamic pricing model. 

Shadows wrote in a series of tweets Friday (11/18)

“If you think Ticketmaster sets the price of tickets… you’re wrong – the artists does.”

“If the supply is 52 stadiums but the demand is 900 stadiums (per NYT’s) you don’t automatically deserve a ticket because you are a fan. Demand exceeded supply!”

“Per dynamic pricing…. Artists have watched front row tickets go for 10x-20x face value from scalpers but see none of the upside. Ask yourself if that is fair. It may suck… but is it fair?”

“Leave it to grandstanding politicians to get involved in something they know nothing about…. And leave it to artists to shrug their shoulders and point the blame.”

Dynamic pricing seemed to be the big issue on fans’ minds as Shadows continued to answer followers’ questions after his initial posts. 

Asked if it is unfair to fans who would be paying exorbitant amounts whether it be from scalpers or Ticketmaster, he responded,

“This is a hard question… if you make a living playing live and someone is willing to pay 2k for front row but you are expected to keep the price $200 would you?  And is that fair?  You play 10 shows now to make that same money.” 

Another fan asked if a $1000 price tag is set by the artist or if Ticketmaster is upping the price due to demand and who is making the profit. Said Shadows, “Ticketmaster raising at the artists discretion and the artist sees the profit.” David Marcus, Head of Global Music at Ticketmaster also chimed in, saying that an artist’s promoter is the one responsible for the raise in price at the artist’s direction. 

Following a tweet from Marcus about the company working with artists on a plan that works for them, Shadows responded, “I believe a combination of web3 / NFT’s w verified fan and dynamic pricing may give us the best of both worlds.”

Ticketmaster/Live Nation is currently the subject of an antitrust investigation by the Department of Justice into whether the company has a monopoly over the ticket-selling market. According to CNN, the DOJ has been contacting venues and others involved in the ticketed events market to inquire about Live Nation’s practices. 

On Saturday (11/19), Live Nation responded to reports about the investigation, saying in a statement on its website, 

“As we have stated many times in the past, Live Nation takes its responsibilities under the antitrust laws seriously and does not engage in behaviors that could justify antitrust litigation, let alone orders that would require it to alter fundamental business practices.

“The concert promotion business is highly competitive, with artist management in control of selecting their promoting team. The demand for live entertainment continues to grow, and there are more promoters than ever working with artists to help them connect with fans through live shows. The Department of Justice itself recognized the competitive nature of the concert promotion business at the time of the Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger.  That dynamic has not changed.” 

The statement goes on to talk about Live Nation and Ticketmaster’s role in the primary and secondary ticketing markets, and how they have been innovators and investors in the way people purchase tickets. They also claim to be “the most transparent and fan-friendly ticketing system in the United States,” saying that “Ticketmaster does not set or control ticket prices, strongly advocates for all-in pricing so that fans are not surprised by what tickets really cost, and is the undisputed market leader in ticket security and fighting bots. Ticketmaster also does not embrace deceptive and questionable secondary ticketing practices prevalent on rival sites such as speculative ticketing.”

Live Nation concluded their statement saying, “We are proud of the work we do across both concerts and ticketing, and will continue working to improve and support the live events industry.”