Live Nation Explains ‘The Truth About Ticket Prices’ Amid Continued Complaints and Regulatory Scrutiny

live nation ticketmaster ticket prices explanation
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live nation ticketmaster ticket prices explanation
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As it faces continued regulatory scrutiny and pricing-related complaints, Live Nation has penned a close to 3,000-word explanation of “the truth about ticket prices.” Photo Credit: Hanna Tche

Weeks after reporting record fiscal-year revenue – and as it grapples with an intensifying Justice Department investigation – Live Nation has penned a lengthy breakdown of the perceived “truth about ticket prices.”

Live Nation EVP of corporate and regulatory affairs Dan Wall wrote the explanation, spanning an astonishing 2,800 or so words, and posted the piece directly on the Beverly Hills-based business’s website. It’s hardly a secret that the leading promoter has encountered all manner of criticism and regulatory scrutiny over the years.

While even a semi-detailed recap of this long-running pushback would prove involved, it’s worth noting that late October of 2023 saw Live Nation as well as Ticketmaster face a renewed congressional grilling over “all-in pricing” – or that which displays event passes’ total cost, inclusive of all fees, at the outset.

Towards November’s end, the Senate slapped the promoter with a subpoena for purportedly “stonewalling” an inquiry into its alleged “abusive consumer practices.” Separately, the Justice Department has for some time been conducting an antitrust probe into the Ticketmaster-Live Nation merger, with February of 2024 having reportedly delivered a fresh batch of related document requests.

Moving beyond these pertinent background details, Wall in the mentioned breakdown attempted to diffuse “antitrust attacks” against his employer by describing at length its alleged lack of genuine influence over ticket prices.

“Tickets are actually priced by artists and teams,” Wall reiterated. “It’s their show, they get to decide what it costs to get in.”

Predictably, the Live Nation exec of a little over one year also dove into the ever-controversial topic of ticketing fees, indicating in part that “Ticketmaster does not set service charges, venues do, and most of the money goes to the venues.” (Of course, Live Nation itself owns a substantial number of venues.)

And for good measure, Wall included a visual resource comparing the “commission rates of digital marketplaces,” with Ticketmaster (seven percent) at the bottom thereof and Twitch (“50% on net subscription revenue”) situated at the top.

Next, Wall zeroed in on “the role of the promoter,” explaining in more words that artists and their teams ultimately set prices – and decide whether to employ dynamic pricing models, for instance. The “real explanations for high ticket prices are well-understood and have very little to do with Live Nation or Ticketmaster,” instead pertaining to simple supply and demand, according to the document.

“Statements to the effect that Live Nation and Ticketmaster ‘keep ticket prices high’ are just flat wrong,” Wall added in conclusion, after taking the opportunity to drive home that Taylor Swift is promoted by AEG’s Louis Messina. “Anyone with a basic understanding of the industry knows this. Those who perpetuate this falsehood are cynical at best. They do a disservice to consumers and to rational political discourse.”

Bearing in mind the latter mention of political discourse, time will tell whether the multifaceted text has a material impact on the positions, statements, and legislative initiatives of lawmakers, who, needless to say, are likelier than irked customers to wade through the explanation. When the market closed today, Live Nation stock (NYSE: LYV) was worth $99.19 per share, just below its 52-week high.