Neil Young is one of many artists who have publicly criticized Ticketmaster for its longstanding monopoly on concert ticket sales. In a March 19 post on his Neil Young Archives website titled “Concert Touring Is Broken,” the singer-songwriter denounced the company’s high ticket prices and fees, which have reached as much as 30% for some artists.
“It’s over. The good old days are gone,” Young wrote in the post, adding: “I’m getting letters blaming me for $3,000 tickets to a charity I’m doing. That money isn’t going to me or the benefit. Artists have to worry about scammed fans blaming them for Ticketmaster plug-ins and resellers. Concert tours aren’t fun anymore. Concert tours aren’t what they used to be.”
The publication also features a news article by Ananya Bhattacharya discussing The Cure’s recent dilemma with Ticketmaster; that is, that their fans were subjected to high fees during the band’s “Verified Fan” sale for their upcoming tour. “I’m as disgusted as all of you by the Ticketmaster ‘fares’ debacle today,” said frontman Robert Smith. tweeted on the subject on March 15. “To be very clear: the artist has no way of limiting them. I have been asking how they are justified. If I get something coherent by way of response, I’ll let everyone know.”
The next day Smith tweeted that “after further discussion, Ticketmaster has agreed with us that many of the fees being charged are unduly high and, as a gesture of goodwill, have offered a $10 per ticket refund to all ‘Verified Fan’ accounts for the lowest ticket price (‘LTP’) transactions.” He too wrote that Ticketmaster would give a $5 refund to “Verified Fans” accounts for other ticket transactions, noting that tickets on sale the next day would have reduced fees.
After years of dominating the event ticketing market, Ticketmaster has come under overwhelming criticism of late, from artists, fans, and even government officials. The sale date for Taylor Swift’s Eras tour was canceled during a fiasco that overwhelmed the Ticketmaster website and prevented several fans from purchasing tickets. Several of those fans sued the company as a result.
Ticketmaster is also facing a Senate hearing and an antitrust investigation for abuse of power led by the Justice Department (the investigation is also targeting Live Nation Entertainment, the company formed after Live Nation and Ticketmaster merged in 2010).
Neil Young has frequently used his platform to criticize giant companies. Last year, he posted a letter to the Neil Young Archives demanding that his music be removed from Spotify, alleging that it spreads “false information about vaccines, potentially killing those who believe the misinformation is being spread by them.” (Her letter from him concerned Joe Rogan, who has been accused of spreading misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines.)
Spotify complied with Young’s request and removed his music days later. The platform also stated that they removed “more than 20,000 podcast episodes related to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.” Young then urged Spotify employees to resign from his jobs.
More recently, Young appeared to criticize Beck’s version of “Old Man,” which was released as an NFL-sponsored clip ahead of the 2023 Super Bowl. After Beck’s version aired, Young posted an image of his video. against the sponsorship of the 1988 song “This Note’s for You”. In the image, Young is holding a bottle labeled “SPONSORED BY NOBODY.”