This is how Ticketmaster is making a fortune off expensive concert tickets right now – and what YOU can do to save

This year is shaping up to be the year of (expensive) concerts and festivals, with some of everyone’s favorites headlining.

As we are slowly coming out of the peak pandemic (for now), concert-goers are clamoring for a sense of normalcy and their favorite artists are delivering with nationwide tours – but it isn’t cheap or easy.

From $5,000 Bruce Springsteen tickets to Ticketmaster site shutdowns for Taylor Swift and Eurovision, fans have gone to extreme lengths to see their desired artists. Even the highly-anticipated Beyoncé's Renaissance tour’s complicated ticket lottery system had fans sweating, with the fan demand exceeding the number of available tickets by 800%, according to Ticketmaster.

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“Back in November, you couldn’t get a ticket price under $700 or $1,000,” said Jennifer Kinder, the lawyer representing Taylor Swift and Beyoncé fans suing Ticketmaster for allegedly working with scalpers to use bots to block real fans from getting tickets. Kinder claimed that the company uses different algorithms in its program to inflate ticket pricing.

“This benefits [Ticketmaster] because each time a ticket is resold, they make a service charge and a fee off of it – they get determined what the fee is, the price the ticket is resold, and remake money off of the same ticket continuously,” Kinder said. “They also can use dynamic pricing; where the number of available tickets decreases, they can increase the price. One moment, you might see a ticket that’s $500, and then when you checkout, you may end up with $700. This is what they do with every sale in the United States.”

On Friday, Live Nation, which owns Ticketmaster, asked a U.S. judge to drop the Taylor Swift fan case and its president acknowledged the company is currently undergoing investigation from the Dept. of Justice.

Despite frustrations and ongoing legal debate, it doesn’t seem like ticket sales will let up anytime too soon. Two weeks ago, Ticketmaster released their quarterly numbers showing that they raked in $16.7B last quarter, up by 44% from 2019. Fan attendance was also up 24%.

Fixing the broken concert ticketing system

After widespread criticism, the company apologized during a Senate hearing earlier this year and is now pushing for Congress to expand their Better Online Ticket Sales Act, focusing on “preventing the use of automated bots to mass-purchase tickets—to “increase enforcement to deter those who break the law.”

“It’s heartening to see people in the Senate pay attention to this issue,” said Zach Freed, outreach manager at the American Economics Liberty Project, a nonprofit that advocates for corporate accountability. “What’s next is the DOJ is probing Ticketmaster for potential antitrust violations. I’m excited to see what comes out of that investigation because there’s a lot of subject matter there.”

Freed blames much of the problems on the 2010 Ticketmaster - Live Nation merger, which led to the company controlling 70% of the ticketing and live venues market.

“This allowed them to retaliate against players who wanted to use a different ticketing service. It created a live events monster,” said Freed. “The Ticketmaster - Live Nation Entertainment merger was a failure and never should’ve left the boardroom.”

Last month, Pres. Joe Biden also proposed to make all fees moving forward as transparent.

“Junk fees may not matter to the very wealthy, but they matter to most folks in homes like the one I grew up in. They add up to hundreds of dollars a month,” Biden said during his State Of The Union speech.

“They make it harder for you to pay the bills or afford that family trip. The idea that cable internet and cellphone companies can charge you $200 or more if you decide to switch to another provider — give me a break. We can stop service fees on tickets to concerts and sporting events and make companies disclose all fees upfront.”

No matter what is happening behind the scenes, fans will continue to break their banks to secure even the cheapest seats for their favorite artist’s concert. Ticketmaster is projecting a big year for 2023 as ticket sales for their concerts have exceeded 50 million, up 20% from last year around this time and a 25% increase internationally.

What you can do to get cheaper tickets

If you’re trying to secure cheaper tickets to see your favorite artists, here’s how:

  1. See if tickets in a nearby city are cheaper. It can be cost-effective, and you can make a trip out of it with your close ones. For example, to see Beyonce in Los Angeles now, the lowest price is $188; but four hours away in Las Vegas, it’s $91 at its lowest. To see Bruce Springsteen, one concertgoer paid $175 in Tulsa, Ok., but there were $59 tickets at another show in New Jersey.
  2. Try purchasing closer to the concert date to find a steal, or see if more tickets are announced at a lower cost. The same Bruce Springsteen concertgoer from the last tip who paid $175, got them when Ticketmaster announced new “excellent” floor seats closer to the date of the show. While the waiting game is risky, sometimes it can work in your favor.
  3. Think of purchasing tickets like a flight and purchase them during hours most people won’t be looking to buy. For example, the best time to purchase a flight is between Tuesday and Wednesday, when people are less likely to look. Apps can see how many people are looking for a ticket simultaneously and may spike the price, so try to look when you think others are at work or out and about.
  4. Lastly, check Ticket News, a website that shares when concerts add seats to their shows and show affordable ticket pricing to the consumer. You may find some good tickets on the alternative resale websites they provide.

Happy concert going and good luck!

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Ty Cole is an award-winning entertainment reporter who covers all things pop culture and lifestyle but can expand his palette when need be. His bylines include Men’s Health,, REVOLT, Mashable, Associated Press, and Baller Alert. You can keep up with him on Twitter at @Iamtycole

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