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Music fans ripped-off as Live Nation puts Metallica tickets straight on resale website

Patrick Christys
Jul 22, 2019


The world's largest live music firm has been ripping fans off by placing tickets directly onto resale websites, bumping up the costs.

Live Nation, the world’s largest live music firm, has admitted placing tickets for Metallica directly on to resale websites, despite claiming it hates ticket touting.

It comes after Google binned resale site Viagogo from its search engine, but the Live Nation revelations just confirms what music fans have thought for a while: the industry's key players are in on the racket.

The Guardian reports that it all came out after a secret recording was released of a telephone call between an associate of Metallica, a Live Nation business partner and a senior Live Nation executive, the executive outlined a plan to bypass the regular avenues by which fans buy tickets at face value.

On the 11-minute call, leaked to US music website Billboard, the executive can be heard saying that Ticketmaster, Live Nation’s official ticketing subsidiary, “will not do it”.

He discussed sending the tickets direct to secondary ticketing companies, websites such as StubHub and Viagogo that allow touts to sell at large mark-ups.

Live Nation admitted that it had placed the tickets, for Metallica’s 2017 WorldWired stadium tour of North America, directly on to the resale market, but insisted that this was unusual.

“Live Nation does not have a practice of placing tickets on the secondary market. Our standard practice is to use Ticketmaster’s Platinum, VIP and other tools to help tours price closer to true market value,” said a spokesperson.

“In this situation, a consultant for the band opted to use the secondary market to try to capture that value.”

A representative for Metallica told Billboard that the band’s members were unaware of the practice, as the band had delegated the matter to a “ticketing consultant”.

Live Nation said people associated with Metallica had decided to use the secondary market after realising how much money was being made from their concerts by touts, sometimes known as brokers within the ticketing industry.

“In 2016, Metallica performed a single show in Minneapolis at which more than 10,000 tickets were transacted on the secondary market without the band’s participation,” said the spokesperson.

“After seeing the volume of secondary transactions for that show and the benefit being captured by brokers, the independent consultant worked with Live Nation on a unique distribution strategy that used the secondary market as a sales distribution channel for select high-end tickets.”

Live Nation told Billboard that the Metallica tour was not the only time it had engaged in passing tickets directly to resale sites but said it only did so when musicians asked it to.

It said that between 2016 and 2017, “about a dozen artists out of the thousands we work with asked us to do this”.

Adam Webb of FanFair Alliance, which campaigns against industrial-scale online ticket touting, told the Guardian: “Thanks to the efforts of government, MPs, the Competition and Markets Authority, the Advertising Standards Authority – as well as many in the industry – the UK’s secondary ticketing market is becoming far more regulated.

“For a start, it would be unlawful for an event organiser to put tickets directly on to the secondary market without making a clear disclosure. Even rogue operators like Viagogo are being forced to comply with the law. We’re not there yet, but the UK is making progress.”

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