Jack Antonoff Talks Concert Ticket Chaos: “It’s Not ‘Cause Of Artists”
Last night at the Grammys, Jack Antonoff won Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical for the second straight year. That award didn’t include Antonoff’s work on the recent albums from Taylor Swift and the 1975, which happened outside the window of eligibility, so it wouldn’t be that shocking if Antonoff won again next year. After his win, Antonoff talked to the press, and he addressed the out-of-control prices for concert tickets.
Jack Antonoff is close with both Taylor Swift and Bruce Springsteen, the two artists whose recent ticket prices have caused big backlashes. Without naming any names, Antonoff said that fans shouldn’t blame the artists for those ticket prices, and he put the blame at the feet of the industry, which presumably means Ticketmaster and Live Nation. This could’ve had something to do with the long-running Bruce Springsteen fanzine Backtracks shutting down in protest of those ticket prices. Here’s what Antonoff had to say:
The whole thing is incredibly tough. There’s no reason why — if I can go online and buy a car and have it delivered to my house, why can’t I buy a fucking ticket at the price that the artist wants it to be? So it’s that simple. And you know the reason why. It’s not ’cause of artists. So the one thing that I would say while holding a microphone is everybody’s got to chill on the artists. Because everyone’s trying to figure it out. We know who’s making it impossible.
Look, I’ve asked very simple things of the industry. Let artists opt out of dynamic pricing. Stop taxing merch, and let artists sell tickets at a price that they actually believe. Don’t turn a live show into a free market. That’s really dirty. Charge what you think is fair. But if for one person $50 is nothing, and one person $50 is more than they could ever spend, you’re creating a situation where a different group can come together at one price. The second everything fluctuates is the second that everything goes K-shaped and turns into a weird free market. That’s not what we do.
@varietymagazine #jackantonoff addresses #livenation ♬ original sound – Variety
In that press scrum, Antonoff also briefly discussed the way that artists, songwriters, and performers get paid:
How many broke artists do you know? How many broke people who work in the industry do you know? So there’s problems all over the place. I came up in touring, and the touring industry, which I actually know best, is actually an interesting example of what’s wrong. When you play a show, you carry the shame that you decided to be an artist, so you’re just happy to do it because people tell you that you’re so lucky. You walk into a room, everybody in that room is being paid a decent wage besides you. You have to become so successful before you can turn out a living. The same for producers, same thing for writers, same thing for artists, same thing for everyone.
Other countries do this in different ways. Canada, for example, has a government that has a big respect for their artists, and you can get grants and whatnot. We just need, as a culture, to move past the idea that you’re just so fucking lucky to be there, so shut the hell up. Because it’s very K-shaped, like all things, where either you’re expected to tour or write or produce or perform for nothing because you’re so damn lucky — which you are, but you should be compensated — or you have the world in front of you. So there’s huge problems, and all you gotta do is look at the weird little grin on everyone’s face.
Look, I’m an artist, a producer, a touring artist, a songwriter. I don’t fuckin’ know what the streaming deal is. I don’t know what’s in the black box. We deal with the same stuff. And we’re a group of people who don’t want to sit around and think about money. We go back to the studio, we go back on tour. So it’s tough because we’re a very easy group of people — historically, and not much has changed — to take advantage of because we didn’t start doing it because of money. Anyone who is here tonight — anyone, at some point, made peace with the idea of being broke…
I’m really obsessed with the touring side of it. It’s crazy out there.
This doesn’t really have anything to do with what Antonoff was saying, but he showed up to the ceremony wearing an RFK-for-president button.