Did he have a choice of working with them? – Billboard

maybe live nation chairman Greg Maffei The statement that Taylor Swift and promoter AEG “chose” to work with Ticketmaster earlier this week should have come with an asterisk.

On Thursday (Nov. 17), Maffei attempted to correct criticisms about Ticketmaster and its owner Live Nation operating as a monopoly by pointing out Swift’s 2023 Eras Tour is “actually a Live Nation Not a promoted concert” but “promoted by one of our biggest competitors”. ,

Mafi – who is also the chairman of Live Nation’s largest shareholder Liberty Media – continued: “AEG who are the promoters of Taylor Swift chose to use us because, in fact, we are the biggest and most effective ticket seller in the world. Even our competitors want to be on our platform.”

The thing is, AEG says it’s essentially forced to work with Ticketmaster because of its hold on the touring business. An AEG spokesperson explained, “Ticketmaster’s special deal with most venues on the Eras Tour required us to have tickets through their system.” Board in a statement. “We didn’t have a choice.”

The debacle centered around Swift’s pre-sales on Tuesday for her Eras Tour, which initially crashed shortly after launch as 14 million fans and billions of bots flooded the site, disrupting service. The ticket mishap caught the attention of Capitol Hill. repealed. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, both criticized Ticketmaster’s outage and claimed that the Live Nation-owned ticketing service was a monopoly. The Justice Department is now reportedly investigating Live Nation, although the investigation reportedly predates the Swift debacle.

AEG and Live Nation have a complicated relationship built around decades of intense competition and steady collaboration. While AEG’s Facility Group relies on Live Nation for programming, AEG Presents, the company’s concert promotion wing, competes directly against Live Nation’s global touring team and has its own preferred ticketing system, AXS.

While AEG Presents prefers to use its partner AXS in the Eras Tour, louis messina (Messina Touring Group is a 50-50 joint venture between AEG and Messina), is basically agnostic when it comes to ticketing systems—he’ll work with any ticketing company regardless of where the show takes place. In North America, this means working with Ticketmaster, which is particularly dominant in the NFL because it offers tickets to 27 of the NFL’s 32 teams. By choosing to play their shows in NFL stadiums – in fact, choosing to tour stadiums in the US – Swift and her partners at AEG and Messina Touring Group were effectively forced to use Ticketmaster because of their dominance in North America. Is.

In that sense, Mafi’s argument that AEG chose to work with Ticketmaster is misleading, but it would also be wrong to describe Swift or AEG’s relationship with Ticketmaster as coercive. Historically, this has been more mutually beneficial.

AEG’s venue management company ASM Global — the nation’s largest such company following the merger of AEG Facilities and SMG in 2019 — has expanded its partnership with Live Nation into 2021, providing Ticketmaster access to any shows brought by the promoter. Access allowed for 300 clients of ASM. In this arrangement, both sides win, as AEG relies on Live Nation to bring content to their buildings and the company has an incentive to lure shows to their facilities.

Swift has teamed up with Ticketmaster over the years — for her reputation stadium tour, the COVID-19-canceled Lovers Fest and now the Eras Tour, simultaneously building out an entire fan verification and Taylor Swift-branded ticketing platform. While Swift would have liked to have given her fans more options for selling tickets, she partnered with the company in a way that few artists have in the past.

Perhaps Ticketmaster and Swift will fix their relationship once they start counting how much money they made together. Or maybe, they’re never, ever, ever, ever getting back together.

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