Published on September 20, 2023, at 4:43 p.m.
by Chloe Petro.
“Building the technology and service to seamlessly connect fans with events they love is our passion. We are relentless in our pursuit to develop the innovations that will unlock unforgettable experiences for fans,” said Ticketmaster President Mark Yovich, according to the company’s website. While Yovich may claim Ticketmaster strives to create a service that can “seamlessly connect fans” to event tickets, fans have had quite the opposite experience. From angry Swifties to confused Zach Bryan fans, Ticketmaster’s brand has become one big red flag, but there is not much fans or artists can do about it.
Ticketmaster recently merged with Live Nation, an events promoter and venue operator. Now known as Live Nation Entertainment, this powerhouse brand is considered a monopoly for large-venue ticket sales.
So, what’s the big deal? Why are fans so upset with Ticketmaster? High ticket prices, a constantly crashing website and the dreaded queue have fans up in arms.
Angry fans taking action
In a Pitchfork interview, Taylor Swift fan Julie Barfuss explained her terrible Ticketmaster experience while trying to get tickets for the Eras Tour. Barfuss ended up with tickets that were $1,400 each after waiting in the queue for almost two hours, being kicked out of the queue 41 times, and having her brand-new credit card declined at checkout.
After losing those tickets at checkout, she had to buy different ones through a friend and decided to take this incident to court. “And I’m not really in it for money,” she noted. “I’m in it because it is so messed up that this is what it takes to get tickets. We need to try and figure out a better way.”
Performers forced to mend their beliefs
Zach Bryan recently announced his Quittin’ Time tour starting in March 2024, and fans quickly noticed tickets were being sold through Ticketmaster. The confusion stemmed from Bryan’s previous album called “All My Homies Hate Ticketmaster” released specifically to express his hatred for the broken ticketing system.
In response, Bryan tweeted, “All my homies still do hate Ticketmaster but hard to realize one guy can’t change the whole system. It is intentionally broken and I’ll continue to feel absolutely horrible about the cost of tickets in an unfair market.” Unfortunately, Bryan and many other artists are put in this same position just so their fans can attend a show.
A lesson to be learned
There are a few notable takeaways here for public relations practitioners. While Ticketmaster is generally not a well-liked brand, consumers have to use it to see some of their favorite artists live, and the artists have no other choice than to use it if they want to perform.
Any smart public relations practitioner knows the key to winning back the trust of these fans is transparency. If Ticketmaster was honest with its consumers and explained why things have to be this way, its brand reputation would improve. Both fans and artists are hoping for a change in this broken system, one that leads to a smoother ticket-buying process.