WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — Consumers may be overpaying hundreds of dollars to hear their favorite music artists live, as the ticket-selling market is under deep scrutiny on Capitol Hill.
Ticket Master faces complaints from lawmakers and music fans over resale operations scooping up seats in bundles, and after the ticket sale meltdown for Taylor Swift tickets in November.
Congressional members are among critics that have labeled Ticket Master and parent company Live Nation as a monopoly in the live event industry — an operation that largely acts as the first place to offer tickets for major events.
But once tickets hit the market, resellers can step in and offer seats for higher prices, reselling them on Ticket Master’s website, and on third-party websites.
DC consumer Breona Meniefield told DC News Now Thursday, “the [third party] website we went on took advantage of us because, you know, there was a $300 upcharge,” for concert tickets compared to similar seats on Ticket Master.
“It was actually crazy because people have bills to pay,” Meniefield said.
DC News Now reviewed prices of tickets sold by Ticket Master, tickets sold on their platform by a third party and tickets sold on Stub Hub — a third-party resale site. The tickets were being sold for an October 7 Billy Joel and Stevie Nicks concert at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
Ticket Master’s price for two tickets in Section 217 amounted to $790, excluding fees. But two tickets sold by a third party through Ticket Master — in the same row, and section — cost $950, and also before fees.
The $160 difference is just one example how consumers taking time to search prices can stretch their dollar.
Consumer note: Tickets sold by Ticket Master online are colored blue, and tickets sold by third parties through Ticket Master are colored pink.
Prices on StubHub for section 127 ranged between $427 and $2,378 per ticket.
DC News Now selected a Stub Hub ticket offered at the closest comparable price to the third party off sold through Ticket Master, and after fees, the price on Stub Hub was $47.70 cheaper.
Consumer advocates also urge ticket buyers to look for fees, some under questionable titles, and what the White House claims are ‘junk fees.’