In light of fans — and Taylor Swift herself — taking issue with Ticketmaster and Live Nation’s highly publicized Verified Fan Presale failure, Jack Antonoff has a few choice words to share about the touring industry’s treatment of artists.
The Bleachers frontman and producer hit Twitter on Friday (Nov. 18) to blast music venues for taking away the revenue that newer artists have the potential to make from merchandise sales during concerts.
“While we are having the discussion can venues simply stop taxing merch of artists? This is literally the only way you make money when you start out touring,” he started. “The more we make it tenable for young and small artists to make a living on the road the more great music we will get. Touring is one of the most honest ways to make a living. Some of the hardest and most heartfelt work you can do. So why must [they] f— artist[s] so hard?”
The Grammy-winning producer continued, “[Simple] solutions, stop taxing merch, stop lying to artists about costs of putting on shows, include artists in more areas of revenue. The stories I could tell from my years of touring are bananas. Young artists on tour are the last to see any money.”
Antonoff’s thread comes at what feels like a watershed moment for the music industry. Ticketmaster and Live Nation have come under fire from Antonoff’s frequent collaborator Taylor Swift, her fans and lawmakers after the disastrous sale of tickets for her 2023 The Eras tour.
The failure has led to the U.S. Department of Justice launching an investigation to see if the companies have abused its market shares in the music industry after 14 million fans attempted to access the presale, experienced major technical difficulties and failed to secure tickets, despite gaining entry into Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan Presale for the event. “It’s truly amazing that 2.4 million people got tickets, but it really pisses me off that a lot of them feel like they went through several bear attacks to get them,” Swift said in a note to fans.
Another one of Antonoff’s collaborators, Lorde, spoke about the harsh realities of touring in a newsletter post to fans, stating, “for pretty much every artist selling less tickets than I am, touring has become a demented struggle to break even or face debt.” According to the “Solar Power” singer, an increase in ticket prices could cover the heightened cost of touring, but “no one wants to charge their harried and extremely-compassionate-and-flexible audience any more f—ing money.”
Antonoff, with the rest of Bleachers, will complete the final dates of the band’s How Dare You Want Tour on Dec. 3-4 at the Zona Festival in Phoenix. The band are confirmed for two festival dates in 2023; the High Water Fest in North Charleston, S.C., on April 15 and the Adjacent Music Fest in Atlantic City, N.J. on May 27.
See Antonoff’s tweets below.