Published Jul 19, 2019The ticket resale market is incredibly shady, but it looks as if people are going to have to get mad at more than just Ticketmaster and Live Nation now. Metallica reportedly struck a deal with Live Nation to place tickets directly in the hands of online resale sites such as StubHub.
The rare admission comes after Billboard obtained a recording of an 11-minute phone call between Live Nation's U.S. president of concerts, Bob Roux, longtime Metallica associate Tony DiCioccio and independent promoter Vaughn Millette.
The recording dates back to February 2017 prior to Metallica's "WorldWired Tour" and allegedly finds DiCioccio asking Roux to set aside tickets to go on resale markets. Apparently, 10,000 tickets for the tour's opening show hit resale markets because the band's management was concerned tickets were priced too low.
"After seeing the volume of secondary transactions for that show and the benefit being captured by brokers, the independent consultant [DiCioccio] worked with Live Nation on a unique distribution strategy that used the secondary market as a sales distribution channel for select high-end tickets," Live Nation said in a statement.
The parties allegedly agreed to a deal that saw Metallica and Live Nation each receive 40 percent of resale revenue with the remaining 20 percent being split between DiCioccio and Millette.
The deal allegedly set aside 4,400 tickets per show — 88,000 total — for resale.
In the phone call, executives reportedly discussed ways to keep the partnership under wraps, including registering a separate email address to transfer tickets to so they appeared to be for sponsors.
Millette eventually lost money through the deal, but to make up for his losses, he didn't return a portion of the sales revenue, which reportedly bothered DiCioccio and Metallica. He later emailed a recording of his conversation, which leaked to Billboard.
The following year, Metallica allegedly partnered with Live Nation again to sell tickets directly on the secondary market without Millette involved.
Representatives for Metallica told the publication the band members were not aware of the deal despite DiCioccio still working with the band as a "ticketing consultant."
Live Nation said in a statement it "does not distribute tickets on any platform without an artist's explicit approval."
The entertainment titan further noted deals like this have "declined virtually to zero" since integrating new tools such as "dynamic pricing, platinum seats and VIP packages."