Behind the Curtain of Ticketmaster: Who Owns It and Is It a Monopoly?
The world's largest live entertainment company owns Ticketmaster. Find out who it is and why some consider Ticketmaster to be a monopoly.
You have to quite literally be living under a rock to not hear about the discourse surrounding Ticketmaster nowadays. Sparked by the outrage that thousands of fans felt when they went to purchase tickets to Taylor Swift's "Eras" tour and were met with website crashes, long lines, and inflated prices, droves of people are questioning if Ticketmaster's monopoly over the industry should even be legally allowed.
Not that there aren't any other ticket vendors on the planet, of course, but Ticketmaster making up roughly 30 percent of the market and being the main vendor in the U.S. complicates things for millions of would-be concert-goers. With that being said, who owns Ticketmaster? Keep reading to find out.
Who owns Ticketmaster?
To find out who owns Ticketmaster, you have to look at its parent company: Live Nation Entertainment. Per Wikipedia, the company was formed in 2010 following the merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster, the biggest in the industry ever. Heading up this mega corporation is Michael Rapino. He is a Canadian-American business executive who co-founded Core Audience Entertainment, worked at Clear Channel Entertainment, and then became CEO of Live Nation in 2005.
What is Michael Rapino's net worth?
When you head one of the world's largest entertainment companies, it goes without saying that you probably have a pretty substantial net worth. In Rapino's case, his dollar valuation is currently sitting somewhere around $521.7 million, per Benzinga. The publication also states that Rapino owns roughly 3,799,273 units of Live Nation Entertainment Inc. stock. Essentially, if there's anyone calling the shots at Ticketmaster, it's Rapino.
How does Ticketmaster make money?
Ticketmaster makes money from the fees it charges customers when they purchase event tickets. These fees, which generally include a service fee, delivery fee, and order processing fee, are determined in collaboration with the ticketing platform’s clients, the company’s official website states. These clients might include sports teams, promoters, and venues.
The fees Ticketmaster collects are split among its clients (and itself) so that it makes a profit and can continue with operations. Despite what some might think, Ticketmaster doesn’t make money from people registering to become Verified Fans.
To become a verified fan on Ticketmaster, all you need to do is sign into your Ticketmaster account, choose the event you’d like to attend, and fill out a registration form. Of course, this doesn't guarantee you’ll become one as the demand might push you onto a waitlist.
Is there a class action lawsuit against Ticketmaster?
When Swift's fans were met with a literal uphill battle to purchase tickets to her tour on Nov. 15, 2022, the internet exploded with people claiming that Ticketmaster's business practices were unfair and monopolistic. Naturally, the massive wave of complaints on social media caught the attention of some government officials, who spoke out against the company.
Congressman David N. Cicilline tweeted, "@Ticketmaster's excessive wait times and fees are completely unacceptable, as seen with today's @taylorswift13 tickets, and are a symptom of a larger problem. It’s no secret that Live Nation-Ticketmaster is an unchecked monopoly."
That statement was echoed by the likes of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who also tweeted, "Daily reminder that Ticketmaster is a monopoly, its merger with LiveNation should never have been approved, and they need to be reigned in. Break them up."
The most poignant and official stance taken against Ticketmaster so far has come by way of the Tennessee Attorney General. In a video statement on Nov. 16, 2022, per WSMV, Jonathan Skrmetti said he's aware of customer complaints after the Taylor Swift ticket release.
"If it’s a consumer protection violation and we can find exactly where the problems are, we can get a court order that makes the company do better. That makes sure the problems that happened yesterday don’t happen again," he noted of pending legal action. "If it’s not a consumer protection (violation), but it’s an anti-trust law that is violated, there is a wide range of options that are available."
The Attorney General added, "I would hope the company is doing everything it can to make sure the customers, from today forward, have a much smoother and fairer experience. As an industry player, you think Ticketmaster would be well aware that these were probably going to be the most popular tickets or close to the most popular tickets they’ve ever had."
On March 27, 2023, 10 of the 340 plaintiffs involved in the lawsuit filed against Live Nation over Swift's Eras Tour appeared in court, BuzzFeed News reported. They are alleging that Ticketmaster "intentionally and purposely" allowing scalpers and bots to snap up tickets to see Swift and resell them for profit."