TV host and actor John Oliver discussed the high price of concert tickets on his show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Specifically, he directly scrutinized Ticketmaster’s treatment of customers.
“They [say they] strive to put fans first, and that the people we care most about are the fans,” he said. “And yet, as anyone who has ever bought from them knows, that’s generally not the feeling you get when you’re dealing with them.”
Oliver also accused the company of holding a majority of tickets for partnership deals with credit card companies, fanclubs and other promotions, which is why shows “sell out” so quickly. Even further, Oliver addressed supply and demand issues, and criticized artists for refusing to implement any “guardrails” to protect customers from being charged extra fees when purchasing tickets.
“An economist will tell you it’s worth whatever people will pay,” Oliver says. “So if someone is willing to spend over $2,000 including fees for an Adele ticket, that is what it’s worth, as gross as that sounds. But if Adele doesn’t want to charge that, there is going to be a gap between the face value of the ticket and what someone can get for it, and a whole industry is going to scramble in to exploit it. When you take all of this together, the reason tickets are so hard to get when they’re on sale is that they’re often not on sale, and the reason they cost so much on the secondary market is that you’re paying exorbitant fees to the platform and might be buying from a broker or in rare cases, even from the artist themselves.”
Oliver concludes that “if regulators don’t act and artists don’t have the clout or the inclination to require companies to put those guardrails in place, I’m afraid you as a fan are going to remain vulnerable to the worst parts of this system.”