Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
- Musician and producer Jack Antonoff discussed the economics of touring and the music industry at the Grammys.
- Ticketmaster and Live Nation have faced scorn after ticketing chaos for Taylor Swift’s Eras tour.
- Antonoff said that artists should be able to opt out of dynamic pricing and set ticket prices they believe in.
At the Grammys, artists like Beyoncé and Taylor Swift won big — but fans who want to see the new winners still fear potential ticketing chaos, especially as the BeyHive prepares for Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour.
Frequent Swift collaborator Jack Antonoff, who took home producer of the year for the second year running, shared some thoughts on the economics of touring and Live Nation. When asked by Variety Magazine for a comment on Live Nation, and their impact on the industry and touring, Antonoff said that the “whole thing is incredibly tough.”
“If I can go online and buy a car and have it delivered to my house, why can’t I buy a fucking ticket at the price that the artist wants it to be?” Antonoff said. “It’s that simple.”
Last year, the ticket sale for Swift’s Eras Tour erupted into chaos, as furious fans found themselves locked out of buying tickets. In a statement after the ticket sale, Swift said she was angry, and “we asked them, multiple times, if they could handle this kind of demand and we were assured they could.” In the wake of the ticketing madness, Antonoff shared his thoughts on how the industry should be reformed.
At the Grammys, Antonoff said that the current situation doesn’t come down to artists, and that “we know who’s making it impossible.” He also reiterated his main asks for the industry:
- Letting artists opt out of dynamic pricing — where, as demand mounts, tickets get increasingly expensive
- Ending the practice of “taxing” merchandise, referring to venues taking a cut of revenues from the merchandise that artists often pay to design, produce, and bring to their shows
- Letting artists sell tickets at a price they believe in
“Don’t turn a live show into a free market,” Antonoff said. “That’s really dirty.” Charge fans what is fair, Antonoff said, and create a situation where different groups of people can come together at one price.
“The second everything fluctuates is the second it goes K-shaped and turns into a weird free market,” he said. The producer is referring to the economic concept of a K-shaped economy, often used to describe mounting inequality, where the richer have increasing access to things like higher incomes or jobs (or, in this case, tickets), as the poorer experience the opposite.
Representatives for Antonoff and Live Nation Entertainment did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.
Antonoff is not alone in his demands and concerns, which he’s been vocal about.
—jackantonoff (@jackantonoff) November 18, 2022
Artists previously told Insider that a shrinking industry, rapidly rising costs, cuts of merchandise going to venues, and stagnant pay, were making the economic reality of touring or even surviving as a musician increasingly infeasible.
“It can’t just be like, ‘Oh, I love this. I’m going to do it even if I make no money.’ Because that’s how you end up with only previously wealthy people making music,” Spencer Peppet, a musician, writer, and odd-job worker who plays guitar and sings in the indie-rock band The Ophelias, previously told Insider.
Swift’s legion of fans have prompted renewed scrutiny of Live Nation and its 2010 merger with Ticketmaster. The Senate Judiciary Committee recently held a hearing on competitive practices in the industry, which was replete with Swift references. Even Grammys host Trevor Noah nodded to the power of Swifties.
“I mean, what they did with Ticketmaster, what they might do for artists all over the world, what they might do for fans who want to go to concerts is amazing,” Noah said. He later tasked Swifties with lowering the price of eggs.