In politics nowadays, there’s this general feeling that anybody from the party you don’t support is wrong, wrong, wrong.
But that’s silly, right? Even a broken clock is right twice a day. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut. And nobody is wrong 100% of the time.
Take Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic socialist from New York. She’s wrong about a lot — but not everything.
The young and hip AOC weighed in over the weekend on the Ticketmaster brouhaha. To refresh your memory, the concert ticket monopoly burst into the news last week during the sale of Taylor Swift tix, leaving thousands of fans frustrated and prompting scalpers to jack their prices into the tens of thousands.
Buying tickets for sports and music events has long been a joke. Even for the largest venues, tickets sell out online in minutes. Then they reappear on sites like SeatGeek and StubHub, but now that $35 ticket costs $300. And then there are the fees — the service fee, facility charge, order processing fee, and the ever-popular convenience fee.
AOC’s got it just right — and she correctly calls the company a “monopoly.”
“I was watching what was going on with the pre-release of Taylor Swift’s tickets,” she told Rolling Stone. “It came up on a more personal level; I actually have quite a few staff who were trying to get tickets that day. Between seeing their experience and seeing all the people online talking about it, I think it really showed how widespread the problem is and reflects the degree of market consolidation in this industry.”
She’s spot on. Ticketmaster and Live Nation merged in 2010, and it’s been a mess ever since. Ticketmaster controls the tickets and Live Nation often owns the venue, which means they’re 100% in control. Don’t like it, tough, don’t go to the show.
“One of the things we’ve been increasingly seeing,” AOC said, “is that these price increases because of inflation and abuse of market power are due to market consolidation. It’s gotten so bad that we’re really seeing it affect our everyday lives, from how much we’re paying at grocery stores, to not being able to see our favorite artists without paying an arm and a leg.”
The Swift mess prompted the Department of Justice to announce it is opening a probe into the monopoly.
But Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts wrote a letter to the attorney general saying that’s not enough, noting “an investigation alone does nothing for the stakeholders already harmed by Live Nation’s market dominance and seemingly ongoing anticompetitive behavior.”
They said the company, which controls about 60% of the market — including many of the biggest venues — “has continued to abuse its dominant market position,” adding, “we urge the Department to consider unwinding the Ticketmaster-Live Nation merger and breaking up the company.”
AOC once again nailed the exact problem. “It’s getting to a point where if you want to see one of these large acts, there’s so little protection for everyday people that if you go into a secondary market, we are no longer in this realm of someone even charging double of what a ticket was. Tickets are going as high [as tens of thousands of dollars] after what was supposed to be a presale operation designed for people who are actually going to be using the tickets that they purchase.”
And she was right again here.
“Other industries have oligopolies; Live Nation is a true monopoly. And it’s affecting our culture if regular people can’t even see a live show for a major act in person anymore, and this just becomes a domain for the wealthy. I think that that’s also something to consider, because If you can’t even see your favorite artists without paying [the equivalent of] a down payment on a house or a car, it’s so antithetical to what music really is,” she said.
One hundred percent right, congresswoman!
Story cited here.
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