Graphic of tickets with "The Disaster" printed on them. Credit: Olivia Frazier / Mustang News

Ticketmaster has caused several stirs online for inflated prices, glitches, site crashes, presale code drama and hour long waiting rooms. Taylor Swift’s “Eras Tour” presale showed the world just how incompetent Ticketmaster is. 

The problems continue because even though Ticketmaster has repeatedly displayed that they are unable to keep up with the large demand from users, there is no other entertainment company to turn to. The monopoly is crumbling under stress, but still remains the primary source of tickets. As excited as everyone is to see their favorite artists, especially after two years with no live music, the high prices and technical difficulties aren’t worth it. 

In 2010, Ticketmaster merged with Live Nation, and the two companies now work together under the name Live Nation Entertainment. Before the merger, Ticketmaster controlled tickets, while Live Nation controlled venues and artists. This merger resulted in Live Nation Entertainment becoming a monopoly over tickets for concerts, sports, stand up and other shows. 

The monopoly has been called out online by thousands of angry fans and politicians, including U.S. representative, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The merger, while great for the company’s own benefit, has been detrimental to both artists and fans. The only reason Ticketmaster seems to be so careless about the insane amount of negative press they are receiving is because without legal intervention, no one has any other option. 

This past November, Ticketmaster experienced its biggest influx of customers on the website ever, when tickets for Taylor Swift’s “Eras Tour” dropped. 

The site crashed when millions of Swifties swarmed the site during presale. The sale was rescheduled for later during the day, but despite special presale codes necessary for the ticket drop, tickets sold out extremely quickly or were relisted for absurdly high prices. 

Fans went to social media to share their horrible experiences after waiting hours in line before being locked out of the sale or receiving no tickets at all. To top it all off, Ticketmaster revealed in a tweet only a few days later that they would not be holding a general ticket sale to the public, due to lack of inventory. 

Ticketmaster’s dynamic pricing allows for their prices to rise, as demand goes up. This system also keeps ticket prices hidden until they are up for sale. But when demand for artists like Bruce Springsteen and Taylor Swift is absurdly high, the ticket prices follow suit. 

Bruce Springsteen tickets sold on Ticketmaster reached the ridiculous price of $4,000 for floor seats. After hearing from my friends who waited multiple hours in line and skipped classes to attempt to get Taylor Swift Tickets, my first thought was why didn’t the artists set a price cap? This seems like a sensible suggestion, but Ticketmaster isn’t just the only option for fans, but for artists as well. 

The monopoly that the company holds on the entertainment world sets up artists that don’t want to work with them for failure. Live Nation Entertainment owns most of the venues across the United States and holds an unjustifiable amount of power over what artists can perform where. Without Ticketmaster, artists wouldn’t be able to perform at the degree that they wish to. 

On Jan. 23, the senate held a hearing regarding the issues in the ticketing business after more than two dozen Taylor Swift fans sued Ticketmaster

The hearing, in which multiple senators quoted lyrics from Swift’s songs, seems to be a common ground among Democrats and Republicans. If Democrats and Republicans are agreeing on something, it’s definitely a problem. A majority of senators disagree with the way Live Nation Entertainment functions, despite the company largely blaming their issues on bots. 

The only way for live entertainment to become accessible to fans and fair to artists is by Ticketmaster being broken up and eliminated as a monopoly. 

While there is a regulatory agreement placed on Live Nation Entertainment, the company has repeatedly violated its regulations. The agreement mandated Ticketmaster to license its software to a competitor and banned the company from targeting venues that avoided using Ticketmaster as their ticket service. Undoing the merger was placed on the table during the senate hearing, but was met by objections by the Live Nation representative, who continued to place blame on bots and dispute statistics senators produced. 

While harsher regulations and control of bots could slightly alter the ways in which the company controls the market, the only real way to release fans, artists and concert venues from the grasp Ticketmaster has on them is to break up the merger by legal force. Just like Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal said during the hearing, Ticketmaster needs to take a look in the mirror and say, “I’m the problem. It’s me.” 

On Feb. 1, Beyonce announced that her next tour, Renaissance World Tour will be happening later this year. The artist will likely draw millions of fans to the Ticketmaster site in anticipation for the presale and general public drop. Ticket sales start early tomorrow morning at 1 a.m. Pacific Time.

It will be interesting to see if Ticketmaster can act on their promises to do better, or if they will once again let down the fans of the artists they claim to support.