Live Nation just dipped into hot water by admitting to being on the profitable side of the ticket resale market. In a Billboard report, audio was transcribed from a phone call in 2017 between Live Nation president of U.S. concerts Bob Roux and an event promoter. In the call, the two were discussing plans to sell several tickets to StubHub and ViaGogo before they had gone on sale.
The report says that Live Nation often used their own employees for the practice, sending large quantities of tickets into singular accounts that are then listed on the secondary market. Live Nation alleges that this is usually at the request of artists themselves, saying that “about a dozen artists out of the thousands we work with asked us to do this.”
“Ticketmaster will not do it,” Roux can be heard saying on the 11-minute call that Billboard reviewed in full, explaining that the plan to put the tickets on sites billed for resellers had to be concealed. He suggested that “either a Live Nation employee or a venue box office basically take these and sell them into a singular account,” the way tickets are typically allocated to fan clubs or sponsors. Once the tickets were placed there, they would be listed and sold on secondary-market sites. “When this happens, 4,600 tickets into a single account,” said Roux on the call, “there may be some eyebrows that get raised.”
This recording confirms suspicions that the company has been working (in some cases, with the artists themselves) to drive up the value of their tickets by selling them out faster than they should have been. Live nation has not posted an official comment on the issue, but it’s only a matter of time before more attention is put on this scheme.