Taylor Swift Fans Urged to 'Finish the Job' Pearl Jam Started

Grunge band went to war with Ticketmaster in 1994
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2022 10:03 AM CST
Taylor Swift Fans Urged to 'Finish the Job' Pearl Jam Started
Ticketmaster tickets and gift cards are shown at a box office in San Jose, Calif.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

Fans are urging Taylor Swift and Pearl Jam to work together—and they're not talking about an album of Swift-Eddie Vedder duets. The Ticketmaster Taylor Swift debacle this week has brought back memories of the grunge band's battle against the company nearly 30 years ago, Fox reports. In 1994, the band clashed with Ticketmaster over the steep fees it was charging its fans. Pearl Jam filed a complaint with the Justice Department alleging monopolistic practices, reports News@Northeastern. They canceled their summer tour in 1994 and played only in non-Ticketmaster venues in 1995, which ruled out most large venues. Then-manager Kelly Curtis said the band ended up playing in "weird places like a ski resort in Lake Tahoe and a fairground in San Diego." Pearl Jam returned to Ticketmaster in 1998.

Ticketmaster canceled Friday's public sale for tickets for Swift's first tour since 2018, citing "extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory." "Verified" fans who tried to buy tickets in presales this week complained of extremely long wait times, system crashes, and exorbitant service fees that doubled the price of some of the cheaper tickets. "All the members of Pearl Jam remember what it’s like to be young and not have a lot of money," Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard testified to Congress in 1994, per KIRO7. "Many Pearl Jam fans are teenagers who do not have the money to pay $30 or more that is often charged for tickets today." Critics say the situation has become even worse since Ticketmaster merged with concert promoter Live Nation in 2010.

The Ticketmaster investigations in the '90s were closed without action, but Tennessee's attorney general has now launched an antitrust probe and congressional Democrats are calling for action. "The Taylor Swift fans finally killing Ticketmaster and finishing the job Pearl Jam started nearly 30 years ago demonstrates the potential of intergenerational cooperation against those that abuse power," reads one tweet on the subject, per Fox. David Herlihy, coordinator of Northeastern University's music program, tells News@Northeastern that before Clinton-era deregulation, regional promoters handled their own ticketing and "agreed to stayed out of each other's realm." The only way to fix the Ticketmaster issue, he says, is to "break it up, force them to separate, and get rid of the exclusive venue contracts." (More Ticketmaster stories.)

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