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ECON 480 - Senior Seminar

This guide is for sections of Economics Senior Seminar, to help in their research.

Ticketmaster Question

Write a 10-12-page analytical paper on the market structure and impact of Ticketmaster/LiveNation.

Fans trying to purchase tickets for Taylor Swift’s “Eras Tour” when they became available on Ticketmaster on November 15, 2022, faced tough hurdles. Ultimately, 2.4 million people were successful, but the process was rocky and fraught with obstacles and technical problems. Though Ticketmaster apologized and explained2 , the fallout has sparked backlash from fans, performers, and even the U.S. Senate.3 This and earlier, similar issues has some journalists, politicians, and commentators questioning the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice’s role in approving the Ticketmaster/LiveNation merger in 2010 and monitoring firm compliance. Bruce Springsteen and Pearl Jam have also tangled with Ticketmaster in the past.

What insights can economics offer about the underlying economic dynamics of this industry? Your task in this senior seminar paper is to use concepts and models from microeconomics and relevant subfields of microeconomics to assess and explain the situation and its economic consequences. You will need to carefully define the industry.

You may wish to consider some (not all) of the following questions or take your own direction:

  • What does economics tell us about whether or not Ticketmaster/LiveNation is a monopoly? Or how strong competition is in the industry? Or how much market power the company has?
  • Why does it matter how much market power this company has? Explore the nature and size of the impact on competitors, performers, and consumers. Can you estimate a dollar value for the components of social welfare?
  • How does analysis of Ticketmaster/LiveNation’s antitrust aspects compare to those of other companies in other industries (past or present)? What parallels or distinctions can we find with other cases?
  • What could or should regulators do or have done to address market competition issues here? Keep in mind that “do nothing” is one option. You should arrive at your conclusions using economic evidence, modeling, and argument. Be sure to carefully articulate your thesis, including the underlying considerations and assumptions you make.

This paper must include both a literature review and an analysis portion. Draw on scholarly articles and economic models and concepts for the backbone of your paper.