Author Topic: Fundraising never stops  (Read 169 times)

TheDrake

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Fundraising never stops
« on: November 21, 2022, 03:37:38 PM »
Got this one from Katie Porter, D-CA, who just won her re-election bid.

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Taylor Swift fans are seeing firsthand how when one company monopolizes a market, prices soar and consumers suffer. We know all too well that Ticketmaster’s monopoly enables it to exploit fans for profit.

Last week, I was proud to work with colleagues to urge the Department of Justice to investigate.

The problem doesn’t end with Ticketmaster. Large corporations have taken advantage and created monopolies over all sorts of things—from airline tickets to bread.

Competition is central to capitalism. I’ll always stand up to corporations who take advantage of us.

Katie Porter

It's interesting to see what politicians will try to raise money on. Ticket sales to a concert. Like, doesn't the same thing happen every single year with the World Series? Ah, but people don't hate MLB the way people hate ticketmaster, and hate raises funds better than anything else.

Tom

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Re: Fundraising never stops
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2022, 05:11:29 PM »
The issue isn't that a single event is overpriced. The issue is that Ticketmaster has leveraged its monopoly to be the ONLY ticket vendor for almost all venues in the country. If you want to buy tickets for an event and don't want to buy from Ticketmaster, in many cases you're just plain out of luck -- which gives them unchecked power over fees, surcharges, etc.

The last tickets I bought to an event had 45% Ticketmaster surcharges.

If you buy the premise that the government has an interest in breaking up industry-wide monopolies, Ticketmaster is definitely due some scrutiny. 

NobleHunter

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Re: Fundraising never stops
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2022, 05:13:28 PM »
MLB didn't organize its fans the way Swift fans are organizing against Ticketmaster. The recent sale of concert tickets was apparently egregiously mishandled. I haven't paid enough attention to know if it's notably worse than the average World Series or if Swift fans have different expectations than baseball fans.

The issue isn't that a single event is overpriced. The issue is that Ticketmaster has leveraged its monopoly to be the ONLY ticket vendor for almost all venues in the country. If you want to buy tickets for an event and don't want to buy from Ticketmaster, in many cases you're just plain out of luck -- which gives them unchecked power over fees, surcharges, etc.

The last tickets I bought to an event had 45% Ticketmaster surcharges.

If you buy the premise that the government has an interest in breaking up industry-wide monopolies, Ticketmaster is definitely due some scrutiny. 

They also have significant control over booking (due to a somewhat recent merger) so if an artist doesn't want to use Ticketmaster, they lose access to the best venues.

Fenring

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Re: Fundraising never stops
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2022, 08:06:21 PM »
I've read accounts of it being much worse than merely overpriced handling fees. In the case of concert tickets apparently there's a whole system of releasing tickets in batches, some of which are made available to the general public, and the selling out of earlier batches being used to justify (to those who want fans) that now they'll have to pay even more to get them. The secondary vendors (i.e. scalpers) buy additional batches from Ticketmaster, reselling at much higher prices due to artificial scarcity. It's sort of like the diamond trade in this sense. And I also read that Ticketmaster may be even trying to take control of the secondary vendors (if it hasn't already) therefore becoming both the ticket vendor and the scalper, essentially leveraging fear of not being able to get tickets to a concert into creating multiple pricing tiers. Trent Reznor seems to think that artists being in on this, receiving a share of these profits in exchange for playing ball, is not uncommon. After all, it creates a sense of artificial demand for their tickets, elevating their prestige. If you take all these practices together, the least of which are exorbitant handling fees, it sounds more like racketeering than inefficient market conditions due to a monopoly.

That being said, this type of entertainment sector (seeing celebrity musicians in person) seems to be rather price inelastic, and a corporation positioned to leverage this can get away with a lot before the public stops paying. After all, a pop star that you idolize is playing near you: would you pay $80 to see them? If so, why not $150 if it will be a memory of a lifetime? How about $300? It's hard to quantify the value of such an experience as you might with a commodity. It's not like a trip to the cinema where you need to factor in that you need to be able to afford to go several times a year. Maybe a major concert happens for you once a year or three. Now Ticketmaster operates in smaller venues and in other capacities as well, but as we're bringing up Swift I thought I'd discuss this aspect of it. The problem is probably more with the economic system than with Ticketmaster per se: basically if you have people where you want them you can abuse them. That's true in all sorts of sectors, most notably rent prices. Is the government supposed to squash you getting ripped off of $200 for one concert when you're doing worse each month on your rent payment? It seems to me that this is picking on low hanging fruit when the general source of the problem lies elsewhere.   

TheDrake

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Re: Fundraising never stops
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2022, 08:13:22 PM »
All of the antitrust complaints about Ticketmaster, I tend to agree with. But I don't see how it applies so much to a craving website. And I'm dubious on how funding money to this elected official would affect any of it.

TheDrake

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Re: Fundraising never stops
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2022, 10:06:36 PM »
All of the antitrust complaints about Ticketmaster, I tend to agree with. But I don't see how it applies so much to a craving website. And I'm dubious on how funding money to this elected official would affect any of it.

Weird spell corrections. Crashing website, and sending money.

NobleHunter

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Re: Fundraising never stops
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2022, 09:08:17 AM »
If you give the representative money they'll yell louder at the DOJ? Though she's probably just trying to capitalize on a moment where less politically involved people might be more favourable to handing out cash.

Tom

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Re: Fundraising never stops
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2022, 09:21:50 AM »
Yeah, she's not saying "give me money to take down Ticketmaster specifically." She's saying, "Remember how I've worked tirelessly in the past to defend consumers from corporations? Here's yet another example of a corporation from which consumers need to be defended, to remind you why it's useful to keep my voice in the legislature."

TheDrake

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Re: Fundraising never stops
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2022, 11:20:27 AM »
No, I get the play. I will destroy corporations they are all evil, got it. But she's pinning it to this event. And it's not even an example of abuse. It makes sense to me when gun control candidates raise money after a shooting, it's directly related. It's not, let's go after gun manufacturers because they're having problems shipping product.

Tom

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Re: Fundraising never stops
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2022, 01:26:35 PM »
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And it's not even an example of abuse.
I'm not at all sure that's true. But, yeah, there are certainly WORSE corporate abuses out there she could be referencing. That said, I suspect it's more effective marketing to talk about one that's freshly in the news, relevant to the target demographic, AND awful by consensus.

Fenring

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Re: Fundraising never stops
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2022, 01:51:56 PM »
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And it's not even an example of abuse.
I'm not at all sure that's true. But, yeah, there are certainly WORSE corporate abuses out there she could be referencing. That said, I suspect it's more effective marketing to talk about one that's freshly in the news, relevant to the target demographic, AND awful by consensus.

If one of the issues the public-facing market must face is rampant inflation, then perhaps targeting Ticketmaster is indirectly going after perpetrators of price inflation who are obviously doing so deliberately rather than due to being squeezed on the supply side. So the issue maybe isn't just that Ticketmaster is a bad actor, but that it's an example of part of the problem threatening the basic foundations of the current market system.