The Cure’s Fight Against Junk Fees Exposes the Harms of Ticketmaster’s Monopoly Power

March 17, 2023 Press Release

Washington, D.C. — Following outrage over Ticketmaster charging additional fees on tickets for The Cure’s U.S. concert tour — sometimes more than 100% of the original price — with lead singer Robert Smith calling the practice “sickening,” the Break Up Ticketmaster Coalition released the following statement.

“This past week, The Cure fans experienced Ticketmaster’s monopoly abuse first hand, with fees more than doubling the price of concert tickets,” the Break Up Ticketmaster Coalition said in a statement. “This band took every step to keep tickets affordable for fans, yet once in the hands of Live Nation-Ticketmaster, which has dominance over the large venue and ticketing markets, the prices skyrocketed with indefensible fee rates. In January, Lawrence the Band told the U.S. Senate that artists have ‘absolutely zero say in what these fees are,’ and this sale put that on full display. The only solution left to protect the live events market is to break up Live Nation-Ticketmaster’s monopoly over it, as thousands of fans, artists, independent venue owners, promoters, advocates, and bipartisan members of Congress are urging the DOJ to do.”

Last month, Live Nation-Ticketmaster reported more than $732 million in income 2022, outpacing its previous most profitable year (2019) by 125%. While Ticketmaster claims to be an ‘artist-first business,’ in reality, its very profitable business model depends on price gouging fans. While The Cure has secured a partial refund for fans, there are thousands of other bands and artists without the same platform or resources that are forced to suffer under Live Nation-Ticketmaster dominance.

Live Nation-Ticketmaster is currently facing increased regulatory pressure for its abuse of monopoly power. During his State of the Union speech, President Biden specifically called out concert tickets as an area rampant with extra fees — sometimes as much as 78% of a ticket — tacked on to purchases. During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the company’s abuses in January, Live Nation faced criticism from a bipartisan set of lawmakers for its abuses, along with blockbuster testimony from artists and competitors speaking out about the company’s dominance over the industry.

In October 2022, a broad coalition of allies launched #BreakUpTicketmaster, a campaign to urge the Department of Justice to investigate and unwind the Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger of 2010. So far, the Break Up Ticketmaster Coalition has organized over 100K concerned fans, artists, and independent venue owners that want to break Ticketmaster’s power over live events ticketing, artist promotion, and venue ownership. The broad coalition of advocacy organizations includes American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), American Economic Liberties Project, Artist Rights Alliance, Consumer Federation of America, Demand Progress, Fan Freedom, Fight Corporate Monopolies, Future of Music Coalition, More Perfect Union, Music Workers Alliance, National Consumers League, Public Citizen, Sports Fans Coalition, Union of Musicians and Allied Workers, and Voters of Tomorrow.

Join the campaign to urge the Department of Justice to break up Ticketmaster here.

Learn more about the Break Up Ticketmaster coalition here.


The American Economic Liberties Project works to ensure America’s system of commerce is structured to advance, rather than undermine, economic liberty, fair commerce, and a secure, inclusive democracy. Economic Liberties believes true economic liberty means entrepreneurs and businesses large and small succeed on the merits of their ideas and hard work; commerce empowers consumers, workers, farmers, and engineers instead of subjecting them to discrimination and abuse from financiers and monopolists; foreign trade arrangements support domestic security and democracy; and wealth is broadly distributed to support equitable political power.