Ticketmaster is no stranger to controversy. Often criticized for its outrageous service fees, poor customer service and monopolistic control over the primary ticket industry, the ticketing giant—along with others in the ticket and live event industries—is now threatening to completely eliminate fan ownership of the tickets they buy.
Mark Perry is a free market economist and a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. His contention here is that Ticketmaster—a service that I have never used and therefore cannot substantiate with personal experience his claim about its service and “monopolist control over the primary ticket industry”—is a monopoly.
But in a free market monopolies aren’t supposed to exist, right? Rigorous examinations of companies like Alcoa Aluminum and their monopolistic ownership and control of bauxite have revealed that even if they were monopolies, they behaved as if they were in competition with other companies.
But this is a conundrum. Ticketmaster somehow is supported, as Perry says, by “the venues, artists and sports teams…as a way to curb ‘ticket scalping,’” which is the free market’s way of handling inequities between supply and demand. So there is some kind of outside intervention in the ticket business that prevents competitors from entering the industry, thus allowing Ticketmaster to continue its attempts to monopolize it.
Perry’s solution, however, is government intervention and that’s where I think he crosses the line. Let the market sort things out. And keep the government out.