John Oliver Talks Ticketmaster, Concert Ticket Prices + Metallica Scalping Their Own Tickets

concert ticket prices
John Oliver photo: Steve Jennings for TechCrunch (Wikimedia Commons ) / Metallica, James Hetfield photo: Kreepin Deth (Wikimedia Commons)
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In the latest episode of Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, the comedian talked about the practices of Ticketmaster and the intense increase in concert ticket prices. He even brought up how bands like Metallica have had to work around the company’s system in order to make a profit on tickets.

In the recent episode of Last Week Tonight, John Oliver discusses what goes into the fees associated with each ticket purchased via Ticketmaster. In one segment where he features disgruntled concertgoers, one of the individuals comments, “If you don’t want to be behind the stage, you’re looking at $500 per ticket. Who can afford that?”

Another individual shared, “For the amount I’m paying to see any random band that’s going on tour, they better be fucking serenading me.”

John Oliver spoke to how the average cost of concert ticket prices for popular concerts has more than tripled since the mid-1990s, and that Ticketmaster is the main culprit responsible. A big part of that issue stemming from the company’s fees associated with each ticket.

The conversation eventually leads Oliver to discussing tickets being sold on the second market, as well as those who scalp tickets. He talks about bots that are set up to purchase large loads of tickets, just to sell them back to potential concertgoers. He even brings up artists and bands who have scalped their own tickets, like Justin Bieber and Metallica.

In July of 2019, Billboard reported that a Metallica representative teamed up with Live Nation (who is part of Ticketmaster), to scalp tickets for the band’s 2017 North American tour; this was in an effort to collect higher profits from the company’s marked-up fees. In the episode, Oliver goes into greater specifics about how Ticketmaster fees can impact bands.

You can check out the full Last Week Tonight episode with John Oliver below.

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Words by: Michael Pementel