Report: Live Nation Helps Bands Rip Fans Off By Sending Tickets Right to Resale Sites

A recording of a 2017 phone call obtained by Billboard sheds light on the practice

James Hetfield of Metallica at Twickenham Stadium on June 20, 2019 in London, England. (Samir Hussein/WireImage)
James Hetfield of Metallica at Twickenham Stadium on June 20, 2019 in London, England. (Samir Hussein/WireImage)
By Evan Bleier / July 19, 2019 3:49 pm

A recording of a 2017 phone call which was obtained by Billboard reveals Live Nation worked with bands in order to place concert tickets directly on resale sites so that fans would not be able to buy them through normal channels at face value.

The call, which was between Live Nation president of U.S. concerts Bob Roux and an event promoter working on behalf of Metallica, documents how concert tickets for major tours have been sold on the secondary market first in order to give artists and promoters a way to recoup some of the profits resellers are seeing.

During the call itself, Roux explains a Live Nation employee or a venue box office worker must take the 85,000 tickets marked for resale sites and put them into a separate account the same way tickets are set aside for fan clubs or sponsors. Once in the account, the tickets could be sold on secondary-market sites.

“Ticketmaster will not do it,” Roux says. “When this happens, 4,600 tickets into a single account, there may be some eyebrows that get raised.”

Approached by Billboard for comment, Live Nation confirmed it had “facilitated the quiet transfer of concert tickets directly into the hands of resellers through the years, though only at the request of the artists involved.”

But, according to Live Nation, only “about a dozen artists out of the thousands we work with asked us to do this” and the practice mainly took place between 2016 and 2017.

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