Avenged Sevenfold’s M. Shadows Offers Insight on Ticketmaster Pricing Controversy
With Ticketmaster and parent company Live Nation currently in the headlines due to a U.S. Department of Justice investigation and continued concerns from the public about rising ticket pricing and concert ticket sales, Avenged Sevenfold frontman M. Shadows weighed in online to express that some of the outrage against the ticketing giant may be misplaced.
This past week, Live Nation issued a statement to address concerns about antitrust laws. Their statement can be read in full below:
As we have stated many times in the past, Live Nation takes its responsibilities under the antitrust laws seriously and does not engage in behaviors that could justify antitrust litigation, let alone orders that would require it to alter fundamental business practices.
The concert promotion business is highly competitive, with artist management in control of selecting their promoting team. The demand for live entertainment continues to grow, and there are more promoters than ever working with artists to help them connect with fans through live shows. The Department of Justice itself recognized the competitive nature of the concert promotion business at the time of the Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger. That dynamic has not changed.
Ticketmaster has a significant share of the primary ticketing services market because of the large gap that exists between the quality of the Ticketmaster system and the next best primary ticketing system. The market is increasingly competitive nonetheless, with rivals making aggressive offers to venues. That Ticketmaster continues to be the leader in such an environment is a testament to the platform and those who operate it, not to any anticompetitive business practices. 5 years ago tickets were paper, now you scan in with your phone, and can transfer tickets to your friend with one tap. We innovate and invest in our technology more than any other ticketing company, and we will continue to do so.
Secondary ticketing is extremely competitive, with Ticketmaster competing with StubHub, SeatGeek, Vivid and many others. No serious argument can be made that Ticketmaster has the kind of market position in secondary ticketing that supports antitrust claims.
For the past 12 years Live Nation has operated under a Consent Decree that among other things seeks to prevent anticompetitive leveraging of Live Nation promoted content to advantage Ticketmaster. Pursuant to the Amended Decree voluntarily entered in 2020, Live Nation’s compliance is monitored by a former federal judge. There never has been and is not now any evidence of systemic violations of the Consent Decree. It remains against Live Nation policy to threaten venues that they won’t get Live Nation shows if they do not use Ticketmaster, and Live Nation does not re-route content as retaliation for a lost ticketing deal.
Ticketmaster is also the most transparent and fan-friendly ticketing system in the United States. Ticketmaster does not set or control ticket prices, strongly advocates for all-in pricing so that fans are not surprised by what tickets really cost, and is the undisputed market leader in ticket security and fighting bots. Ticketmaster also does not embrace deceptive and questionable secondary ticketing practices prevalent on rival sites such as speculative ticketing.
We are proud of the work we do across both concerts and ticketing, and will continue working to improve and support the live events industry.
With the subject being a point of discussion for many music fans, Avenged Sevenfold's M. Shadows offered his insight on the Live Nation and Ticketmaster ticketing concerns via a string of tweets.
"If you think Ticketmaster sets the price of tickets… you’re wrong – the artists does," Shadows started, then adding, “If the supply is 52 stadiums but the demand is 900 stadiums (per NYT’s) you don’t automatically deserve a ticket because you are a fan. Demand exceeded supply!”
He then elaborated more on the subject stating, “Per dynamic pricing…. Artists have watched front row tickets go for 10x-20x face value from scalpers but see none of the upside. Ask yourself if that is fair. It may suck… but is it fair?”
The singer then called out recent politicians voicing their displeasure, adding, “Leave it to grandstanding politicians to get involved in something they know nothing about…. And leave it to artists to shrug their shoulders and point the blame.”
From there, a number of responses from Shadows' followers on Twitter added to the discussion. The singer took it in stride, offering a wealth of insight to those with questions in the process.
The singer told one fan commenting on the fees that are often associated with tickets, "78% of fees because they are paying artists 100% of the door. Music seems to be the only industry where it's not fair to charge what people are willing to pay."
When another Twitter follower posted the question, "But isn’t it most unfair on fans? They pay more either way? Aye it sucks that a scalper is making money off your work but you’ve been payed [sic] the original prices you set no?"
"This is a hard question," stated Shadows. "If you make a living playing live and someone is willing to pay 2k for front row but you are expected to keep the price 200$ would you? And is that fair? You play 10 shows now to make that same money."
Offering some clarification to one follower who asked about Blink-182's platinum pre-sale jumping from $375 to $550 after a five-minute window, Shadows explained that it was "dynamic pricing so the artist sees upside… not the scalpers."
Another asked about front row ticket prices from Ticketmaster rising, commenting, S"o front row tickets on Ticketmaster, not from a street scalper selling for $1,000 is artist set? Or is Ticketmaster automatically raising the price due to intense demand? Is that a difference and does the artist see that money in the price hike?" Shadows responded, "Ticketmaster raising at the artists discretion and the artist sees the profit."
Another Twitter follower pointed out that when a ticket broker makes more than an artist, it's "fucked," Shadows commented, "Just to point out… TM / LN lose lots of money on many many tours."
Yet another follower asked, "Can we solve instant scalping," adding, "Enabling resellers to immediately sell on the TM/LN site for 10x the price only hurts true fans." Shadows commented, "In this case I feel they did. 3.5m people signed up for verified fan. 1.5 got tickets… most of these people will sell the tickets because the profit is so large. I think thats a lot of whats happening."
Avenged Sevenfold have mostly been out of the spotlight in recent years, working toward a new album. That record has now officially been confirmed for a 2023 release, so it's likely that Avenged Sevenfold will be returning to the road as well, with their fans now dealing with ticketing for shows again.
Shadows also recently shared his opinion on another music industry topic, commenting that he views selling multiple versions of an album to boost chart numbers as being "fan abuse." Dig into more of that discussion here.