The Senate hearing on Ticketmaster's 'monopoly' over the live entertainment industry is underway following the nightmare that was the Taylor Swift tour sale.
As part of the hearing, musician Clyde Lawrence spoke on behalf of all artists, and perfectly explained everything wrong with the company's practices in just two minutes. It was genuinely impressive:
You know you're in hot water when both Democrats and Republicans have a problem with you.
That's where Ticketmaster find themselves after the presale for Taylor Swift's highly anticipated 'Eras' Tour turned into an utter s**t show.
Although Ticketmaster apologised for the nightmare-ish sale, and pointed the finger at cyber attacks that they experienced on the day, it prompted senators to look into Ticketmaster and Live Nation's monopoly on the entire live entertainment industry.
In a lot of cases, Live Nation are the ticket seller, the promoter and the venue owner, leaving them with very little competition and allowing them to charge higher prices for tickets.
A senate hearing is now under way to investigate whether Live Nation has violated its consent decree - a set of terms and conditions both Live Nation and Ticketmaster agreed to before their merger.
As part of the hearing, Clyde Lawrence of the pop band Lawrence, appeared as a witness on behalf of all artists who had dealt with Ticketmaster - so, most of them, really.
And if you were ever confused as to what on earth this whole Ticketmaster debacle was about, Clyde has broken it down masterfully.
He began by stating that, although his band were not 'artists on the level of acts like Taylor Swift or Bruce Springsteen', they are 'seasoned artists who have toured extensively over the last seven years.'
Offering a hypothetical scenario to explain the problem with Live Nation's monopoly, he said: "Let's imagine we just played a sold-out show at a venue Live Nation owns. When an artist plays these venues, they're required to use Live Nation as the promoter.
"Since both our pay and theirs is a share of the show's profits, we should be true partners, aligned in our own incentives: keep costs low while ensuring the best fan experience.
"But with Live Nation acting as the promoter and also as the owner and/or operator of a venue, it seriously complicates these incentives."
Clyde continued: "At the end of a show, costs will have eaten into most of the money made that evening and, due to Live Nation's control across the industry, we have practically no leverage in negotiating."
He explained that, if Live Nation wanted to take 10 percent of the overall revenue and charge it as a 'facility fee', charge $30,000 for the 'house nut' (the fixed fee a promotor has during every show), or charge an artist $250 for a 'stack of ten clean towels', they 'can and have'.
Once all of these costs are totted up and given to Live Nation's subsidiaries, the remaining profit is split between Live Nation and the artist - though not evenly.
Since the promoter and the venue are both owned by Live Nation, the promoter will make no effort to strike a good deal for the artist, so it all becomes a matter of 'Live Nation negotiating to pay itself'.
To really hammer his point home, Clyde explained that, for this hypothetical gig, tickets would be listed at $30, but the band's take-home pay would work out at about $12 per ticket.
"But in this hypothetical show, the fan did not pay $30 for that ticket. The fan paid $42 because Ticketmaster tacked on a 40 percent fee. For the record, we've had them go as high as 82 percent."
After schooling everyone on the chokehold that Live Nation has on his livelihood, Clyde finished his address by telling senators: "I hope to see some of you at one of my band’s concerts.
"If you’d like to come, let me know so I can throw you on the guest list and help you avoid the ticket fees."
UNILAD has contacted Live Nation for a comment.
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