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Pop Star’s Fans Frustrated By Ticket Broker’s Monopoly

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September 19, 2022

You know you’re irremediably dated when Time.com calls somebody “one of the biggest pop stars on Earth — maybe even the most famous man in the world,” and you’ve never heard of him. His name is Harry Styles and his fans, of which there are many, are frustrated. The moment he announced he was bringing his “Love on Tour” show to the U.S., tickets were very hard to come by, and not solely due to demand. Much of the problem is on the supply side. Ticketmaster and its parent company Live Nation, the world’s largest ticket broker, has a stranglehold on tickets for major events. The result is exactly what good old-fashioned anti-trust theory predicts — price gouging, astronomical fees, and withholding of tickets. The price of an “Official Platinum” ticket for Styles’ Madison Square Garden residency is more than $600. One seat purchased from a reseller went for more than $3,000. The fees that are tacked on to each ticket can be as high as 78 percent of the ticket price, divided among the venues, promoters, artists, and Ticketmaster. But the biggest reason tickets are hard to get, and the most anti-competitive one, is because Ticketmaster holds back as many as 90 percent of tickets for the secondary market — credit card companies, promoters, radio stations and fan clubs, with which it has special deals. Resellers gobble up most of what’s left, and the bulk of Mr. Styles’ fans, those who don’t have hundreds of dollars to drop on a show, are out of luck.

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