In last week’s State of the Union address, Joe Biden blasted “junk fees” and “Americans… being played for suckers.” This follows Democrats in the Senate focusing their first Judiciary Committee hearing not on things like Biden’s undoubtedly unqualified judicial nominees or oversight of the DOJ and FBI, but rather on Taylor Swift concert tickets. And now, it is emerging that Biden endorser Beyonce, much like Swift herself, appears to be a big part of the problem where the issue of pricey concert tickets is concerned.
Here’s how Beyoncé endorsed Biden in 2020.
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Wearing a Biden-Harris facemask and writing on Instagram “Come thru, Texas! #VOTE 😘”, she also urged people to vote absentee in the 2020 election.
But it looks like Queen Bey might actually be the one causing Biden and Democrat’s concert ticket headaches.
From Rolling Stone last week:
Tickets for Beyoncé’s upcoming Renaissance tour, one of the most in-demand concerts in recent memory, won’t hit the market until next week. But that hasn’t stopped ticket scalpers from posting listings for as much as $3,000 a ticket — even if they don’t actually have them yet.
Such a practice isn’t new, nor is it in any way unique to Queen Bey. Tickets for Fall Out Boy’s “So Much For (Tour) Dust” Tour, for instance, don’t hit pre-sale until Thursday, but tickets were already listed on resale sites — such as StubHub, VividSeats, and SeatGeek along with smaller platforms — the day before for hundreds of dollars a ticket.
As of publication, some of the best seats for Beyoncé’s So-Fi Stadium show in Los Angeles in September are speculatively selling for $3,064 per ticket on VividSeats. The cheapest nosebleeds were listed at $570. For Bey’s Metlife show in July, some nosebleed seats were listed at over $600, with some lower bowl seats going for over $1,800 each.
It’s called “speculative ticketing,” and as the ever-frustrating ticketing marketplace has received more scrutiny from fans and regulators alike in recent months, it’s a topic that could draw more attention from lawmakers looking for solutions to make ticket-buying more transparent and fair.
It appears that Live Nation, which owns Ticketmaster, is fully aware of the problem, too.
Joe Berchtold, Live Nation Entertainment’s [that’s Ticketmaster, for readers] president and CFO, advocated for a crackdown on speculative ticketing during the judiciary hearing, and further tells Rolling Stone in an interview on Wednesday that the practice misleads customers. From a company-facing point of view, Berchtold worries that speculative ticketing pushes the false notion that resellers listing speculative seats already got tickets in advance, which causes more vitriol toward Ticketmaster if fans blame the company for scalpers’ sales.
“It’s very confusing for a fan. They look at the resale sites in advance and see a ticket already on sale before they’re released, and they’ll think it’s rigged against them,” Berchtold says, suggesting that speculative tickets serve the seller, not the buyer.
“Most of these other secondary sites, their strategy is to super-serve the scalper so they can get the tickets and they can sell those tickets. Ban spec tickets — they’re an anomaly in ticketing that doesn’t otherwise exist in society. […]”
I am absolutely no fan of the market dominance that is Live Nation/Ticketmaster and the lack of major competition in the marketplace where digital ticket sales are concerned, but I am also very leery when it comes to calling for government regulation of private businesses – especially when the solution to the problem already exists within the marketplace.
This brings me to ticket reselling. That issue is, of course, something that Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana spent his time during that Senate Judiciary hearing bashing. He noted that if these companies just banned it, the whole problem Democrats are complaining about would go away.
Of course, this is a problem that also does not necessarily require the government to get involved at all. As I have previously noted, Ticketmaster actually allows artists to cap ticket prices and only allow resale at face value, as does rival AXS/AEG Presents. Pearl Jam does this through Live Nation/Ticketmaster. But artists like Swift and Queen Bey don’t probably don’t want to cap ticket prices or limit resale because they want to maximize their profit and the perceived value of a ticket to their shows.
Even if they don’t see a direct profit from those re-sales, what they do see is an artificial inflation of their average ticket prices, meaning fans will just assume those prices are normal. In the long run, it helps Beyonce and Swift scam even more from the Beyhive and the Swifties – while the latter are all too happy to blame Live Nation/Ticketmaster and encourage Democrats to put a stop to the evil corporations.
Once again, the problem here seems to be… Democrats.
Taylor Swift endorsed Democrat Phil Bredesen over Marsha Blackburn in their Senate race, and Beyoncé endorsed Biden-Harris. Now, Democrats are going after the ticketers and promoters, instead of the artists who create the problem in the first place by resisting ticket price caps, or the scalpers who exacerbate it. Obviously, this all proves that Kennedy is a smarter policymaker than Joe Biden, Dick Durbin, or Amy Klobuchar, but it also shows that the still-extremely-lefty Pearl Jam are probably looking out more for the little guy than big Democratic mega-stars Swift and Queen Bey.