Zach Bryan Calls Out Ticketmaster for Absolutely Insane Fees: ‘Ruining Live Music’

by Lauren Boisvert
(Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images)

Zach Bryan has a bone to pick with Ticketmaster. He recently responded to a tweet from More Perfect Union, which reported on Ticketmaster and Live Nation’s record quarterly earnings. The company earned $6.2 billion last quarter, which is the result of the incredibly high ticket and fee charges. The outlet reported that fees now cost about 78% of the ticket price. Zach Bryan’s tweet comes after he recently promised to lower the prices on his merch.

Ticketmaster has a monopoly on the live event industry, according to More Perfect Union. They’ve seized control of venues, artists, and events and can get away with scamming and allowing resellers to gouge fans with their prices. They can also take down anyone who refuses to work with them. Ticketmaster is really that powerful.

And country music sensation Zach Bryan recognizes that. “SUITS RUINING LIVE MUSIC,” he quote tweeted in all caps in response to the report. He has a point. The only people who really benefit from these fees are Ticketmaster executives. These huge price spikes (like Bruce Springsteen’s $5,000 tickets) plus the exorbitant fees are making Ticketmaster execs extremely wealthy, doing virtually nothing for the artists, and ripping off fans.

Zach Bryan Calls Out Ticketmaster For Exorbitant Prices and Fees, and He’s Right To

Ticketmaster and Live Nation merged in 2009, which gave them both control over live music. Ticketmaster already controlled about 80% of the market before the merger and combining with Live Nation filled in that extra 20%. There were some antitrust regulations put on the new company, but at the time, Christine Varney with the American Antitrust Agency said Ticketmaster and Live Nation’s merger was not an antitrust concern. And so, Ticketmaster has had a monopoly for the past 13 years. Journalist Cory Doctorow described the conduct regulations as a “pinky swear.”

“Live Nation and Ticketmaster had to promise that they wouldn’t use their power over events and venues to grow their ticketing dominance,” he explained in a video for More Perfect Union. “The combined company violated their consent decree with impunity because […] they had created a culture of fear where no one else in the live music industry would speak out against them.”

According to Doctorow, the structural remedies in the merger were more effective. Just barely, though. “Ticketmaster was forced to sell portions of its empire to much smaller companies,” but, says Doctorow, “it was barely a dent.”

Additionally, Ticketmaster promotes reselling tickets with its own program. A 2018 investigation revealed that Ticketmaster encouraged resellers to set exorbitant resale prices, and even incentivized it. According to Doctorow, Ticketmaster loves resellers because “they get to charge their service fees twice and those resales net them a second more lucrative fee on the same product, one they’ve already sold once.”

Overall, Zach Bryan has the right of it, the suits are ruining live music. Capitalism and corporate monopolies are wrecking our ability to experience things that bring us all joy. There are things we can do to stand up for ourselves in a world of conglomerates, though, if only we’re willing to take the next step.