The music business is an ever-evolving organism. Particularly since the turn of the century, the industry has experienced a massive overhaul, as CDs were replaced by mp3 downloads, and mp3s in turn were usurped by streaming services, consolidating unprecedented influence for the Spotify-s of the world. The same consolidation of influence has occurred in the live concert space, as massive corporate entities like Live Nation and AEG have snatched up venues and ticketing platforms, vertically integrating the various levels of the music market and driving competing independent promoters and event organizers out of business in the process with the business equivalent of brute force. The latest industry trend seems to take the already-oligarchical landscape and consolidate the power even further, as Spotify did when inked a partnership with Ticketmaster that aimed seamlessly sell tickets for specific artists’ concerts directly to the people listening them the most.

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Yesterday, the consolidation of power in the music business continued its progression: In a blog post issued by YouTube management yesterday, the behemoth video platform officially announced a new partnership with ticketing giant Ticketmaster to sell tickets to an artist’s live shows directly via their official music videos. According to the statement, “At YouTube, we understand the importance of helping artists find ways to build deeper connections with their fans — the ones who not only watch and listen to videos, but are also willing to pay to see live performances. And, with live concerts becoming a bigger driver of revenue for artists, we want to help artists reach those fans, keep them updated about upcoming shows, and sell more tickets…YouTube’s massive fan base paired with Ticketmaster’s global roster of concerts and security of verified tickets means we can easily connect a fan’s discovery of music on YouTube to their ability to purchase concert tickets.”

You can see a visual example of the YouTube/Ticketmaster pairing in action below:

YouTube wen on to add that they will be rolling out the feature gradually to artists of a certain stature for shows in North America, but plan to increase the scope of the partnership as they move forward.


As Billboard notes, “While this marks YouTube’s first ticketing partnership, the video service is far from new to bridging the gap between online and live music experiences. Festivals from Coachella to Global Citizen have hosted live-streams on YouTube for years. Through the Verified Fan campaign for Taylor Swift’s upcoming tour, the singer’s fans could earn higher priority on the waiting list for tickets by watching more of her YouTube videos.”

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Of course, these types of tactics in the music business–and specifically with these two companies–have received their fair share of criticisms from artists and fans alike. From a noted issues with YouTube’s “value gap” for artists who use the platform as a main outlet for fans to access their content, to Ticketmaster’s ongoing issues with bots and ticket brokers. To help pacify that tension, both of the companies have developed artist-facing initiatives within their business models–from YouTube tutoring artists on monetization through its Artist Resources page, to Ticketmaster promising to put tickets only into the hands of the most deserving fans through its (separately controversial) Verified Fan program.

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We’ll see if this new partnership winds up actually generating the artist benefits that it’s attempting to provide. Right now, its seems to mainly apply to artists big enough that they’re not extremely worried about revenue. But however it shakes out, this partnership between YouTube and Ticketmaster is a landmark move in the ongoing constriction of power at the top of the music industry food chain–and as we’ve learned throughout our country’s history, corporate monopolies throw a serious wrench into what’s intended to be a self-correcting economic market system.

[h/t – Billboard]