June 14th, 2024

Ticketmaster Timeline: A running list of clashes between the event organizer, fans and artists

By The Associated Press on May 23, 2024.

FILE - Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder performs at the Bonnaroo music festival in Manchester, Tenn., June 14, 2008. In 1994 Pearl Jam filed a complaint against Ticketmaster with the Justice Department, claiming that the company used its position in the industry to stop promoters from booking the band because they railed against Ticketmaster's pricing. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

The Justice Department filed a sweeping antitrust lawsuit against Ticketmaster and parent company Live Nation Entertainment on Thursday, accusing them of running an illegal monopoly over live events in America – squelching competition and driving up prices for fans.

Here’s a timeline of some of the dustups between artists, fans, and Ticketmaster over the years.

Pearl Jam vs. Ticketmaster – 1994

Pearl Jam filed a complaint against Ticketmaster with the Justice Department, claiming that the company used its position in the industry to stop promoters from booking the band because they railed against Ticketmaster’s pricing. Pearl Jam also alleged the company had a monopoly over ticket distribution because of its relationship with various venues.

Stubhub vs Ticketmaster and the Golden State Warriors – 2015

StubHub sued Ticketmaster and the Golden State Warriors, alleging it unfairly required fans looking to resell tickets to use Ticketmaster’s resale exchange.

The online ticket marketplace and division of San Jose, California-based eBay Inc. alleged in the lawsuit that the organizations prevent fans from deciding how they wanted to resell tickets and artificially drove up ticket prices.

Swifties vs Ticketmaster – 2022

Taylor Swift posted a story on Instagram in November expressing her anger and frustration over the hours spent by fans trying to buy tickets for her tour.

Fans trying to scoop up tickets in a pre-sale for Swift’s The Eras tour were met by massive delays and error messages that Ticketmaster blamed on bots and historically unprecedented demand.

The Boss vs Ticketmaster – 2022

Fans of Bruce Springsteen were also in an uproar when tickets first went on sale for his tour, particularly over Ticketmaster’s dynamic pricing model, which sent tickets soaring to $5,000 or more when there was high demand.

Ticketmaster said at the time that the vast majority of Springsteen’s fans were able to buy tickets at face value, which averaged $202.

US Senate vs Ticketmaster – 2023

The issue of Ticketmaster’s dominance in the entertainment industry comes before the U.S. Senate and lawmakers want to know whether a lack of competition contributed to its spectacular breakdown during a sale of Taylor Swift concert tickets.

Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee also debated possible action, including making tickets non-transferable to cut down on scalping and requiring more transparency in ticket fees. Some lawmakers suggest it may be time to split Ticketmaster and concert promoter Live Nation. The Department of Justice approved the merger in 2010.

Minnesota vs. Ticketmaster – 2024

A so-called Taylor Swift bill is signed into law in May in Minnesota. The bill aims to guarantee more transparency and protection to people buying tickets online for concerts, sporting events and other live events in the state.

The law, prompted by the frustration a legislator felt at not being able to buy tickets to Swift’s 2023 concert in Minneapolis, will require ticket sellers to disclose all fees up front and prohibit resellers from selling more than one copy of a ticket, among other measures. The law will apply to tickets purchased in Minnesota or other states for concerts or other live events held in Minnesota.

The law takes effect Jan. 1, 2025, and applies to tickets sold on or after that date.

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