Artists selling tickets in person to help fans avoid online bots, fees

The live music business is booming, but critics say the process of buying tickets online comes with added fees and competition from scalpers.
Music Artist Maggie Rogers
Posted at 4:43 PM, Apr 23, 2024

Online ticket sales for music events grossed more than 33 billion dollars in 2023, according to estimates from Statista Market Insights, but critics say that process comes with added fees — as well as competition from bots.
On Friday, a line of music fans took over a whole block downtown Chicago — with some folks arriving as early as five in the morning — for the chance to buy Maggie Rogers concert tickets in-person.
"In person, you can actually see how many people are buying tickets," said Meredith Richter, who was in line almost three hours before the box office opened.
Indie pop musician Maggie Rogers was nominated for the Grammy for Best New Artist in 2020, and her audience has been steadily growing since. For her first-ever arena tour, she says she sold tickets in person in an effort to reduce fees and combat bots — which are automated to buy tickets the moment they go on sale, leaving fewer tickets for individual fans.
"You have very low chances because of bots," said Richter.
"When we were trying to get the tickets for The Eras Tour for Taylor Swift, that was really difficult, waiting in the line and then not getting tickets," said Gracie Merino, who was waiting in line with Richter.
"It's really upsetting when resellers get the tickets first and fans don't have the opportunity to get them," said Xavier Barrios.
At the heart of these complaints is the company Ticketmaster — which according to Statista Consumer Insights, dominated the U.S. event ticket market in 2023. Public scrutiny honed in on the company in 2022, after many fans struggled to buy tickets or afford added fees to go to Taylor Swift's highly-anticipated "Eras" tour.

Statista: Live Ticket Sales Company Ranking

Live Nation — Ticketmaster's parent company — has since faced antitrust lawsuits from music fans, as well as a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the "Lack of Competition in Ticketing." Recently, the Wall Street Journal was the first to report that the justice department is preparing to file an antitrust lawsuit against the entertainment company.
Scripps News reached out to Live Nation, but the company didn't provide any additional comment.
Dan Wall, Live Nation's Executive Vice President for Corporate and Regulatory Affairs defended the company's practices last month, stating that ticket prices are set by artists and that: "Statements to the effect that Live Nation and Ticketmaster 'keep ticket prices high' are just flat wrong."