Following a Tuesday (Jan. 24) Senate Judiciary Committee hearing examining how a merger between the entertainment giant and Live Nation has impacted ticketing practices, the “Friends In Low Places” singer penned an open letter to Congress and shared it on Twitter.
“As an entertainment company, I have worked with Ticketmaster for many years now,” Brooks started off his letter. “In the beginning, we did a lot of our ticketing independently. As you grow, however, you start playing the larger venues and you learn each venue has their own contract with a chosen ticket-selling agency that you, as an artist, have to go through in order to play that building.”
“Ticketmaster held the rights to a large number of places I wanted to play. With that said, as you work with a company, that company becomes individual people. What I witnessed was a true concern and care for ticket buyers as each on-sale was enacted. For example, now, decades later and more aware of what I can ask for, I wanted to play AT&T Stadium in Texas.”
“AT&T Stadium does NOT use Ticketmaster as their ticketing agency. I had grown to love and trust the people at Ticketmaster so much, I told the Cowboys organization that I couldn’t come play there unless they let Ticketmaster come in and do the on-sale. This was not because of Ticketmaster, but a choice I made.”
— David Shepardson (@davidshepardson) January 23, 2023
Brooks seemed to reference the disastrous Taylor Swift Eras Tour pre-sale as he defended the entertainment company, remarking that “any program will shut down or freeze if too much demand is put on the system.”
“Any program will shut down or freeze if too much demand is put on the system,” he continued. “We learned this a few times. And when it happens, there are some things that are not in your control. But how you respond to anything is always in your control. Ticketmaster has responded in an appropriate way for all of our situations. And what I learned is, it is as much up to me as the artist to protect the people who have made me an artist when it comes to how much demand I put on a ticketing system.”
Brooks went on to say that ticket prices will inevitably be higher for smaller venues and it is then up to the artist to find ways for fans to see their shows, either by offering tickets at a lower price or for free.
He concluded his letter by suggesting ticket scalping be made illegal to eliminate bots, dynamic pricing, and system overload.
“While I have you, My question is, as a country, why don’t we just make scalping illegal? The crush of bots during an on-sale is a huge reason for program failure NO MATTER WHO THE TICKET SELLING COMPANY is,” he said.
“And the one who ALWAYS pays for this atrocity is the customer, the LAST one on whom that burden should fall. Making scalping illegal eliminates bots, eliminates dynamic pricing controversies, puts less pressure on the system because it puts everyone on a level playing field.”
“Thank you for your time and attention to this matter. Best of luck on your decision. God Bless, Garth Brooks.”
— The Boot (@thebootdotcom) January 25, 2023
The Senate Judiciary Committee brought forth a strong bi-partisan effort to discuss whether the Ticketmaster-Live Nation merger has shut out competition and crippled consumers. Multiple senators quoted lyrics from Swift’s songs during the hearing, including Connecticut Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal.
While speaking with Live Nation CFO Bob Berchtold, Blumenthal referenced Swift’s latest single, “Anti-Hero” from her tenth studio album, Midnights, saying “Ticketmaster ought to look in the mirror and say, ‘I’m the problem, It’s me.’”
— NBC News (@NBCNews) January 24, 2023
Additionally, Brooks has previously called out Ticketmaster for its use of dynamic pricing and has urged the entertainment giant to “knock out scalping.”