Country star Zach Bryan issued a statement on Christmas Eve promising to find a way to keep ticket prices low and easy to get for his yet-to-be-announced 2023 tour, without selecting Ticketmaster by name as a problem, as he has often done in the past.
Which doesn’t mean he didn’t find another place to more openly invoke the ticket giant, much by name. Along with his written statement, Bryan released a surprise live album titled… “All My Homies Hate Ticketmaster (Live at Red Rocks).”
The title of the new album echoes a Nov. 15 tweet from Bryan, capping off a long string of missives that saw him vilify the company, writing: “I am fully aware of the relationship between Ticketmaster and Live Nation . All my decisions – going forward – will reflect this, and until there is a serious change in the system, all my girlfriends will continue to hate Ticketmaster. (Last thing I’ll say on the matter.) Sorry to be annoying.”
That tweet turned out not to be Exactly after all, his final word on the matter, but fans who share his sentiments are amused that he made his “last” statement for the title of a new release that, like his 2022 studio effort, is bound to rack up massive streaming numbers. Over the past year, Bryan has not just been one of country’s new breakout stars, but one of the most used artists in any genre.
With the new release, Bryan made good on a promise he made while headlining Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheater in early November to release the concert as a live album. The show took place during an (obviously) unexpected blizzard, and included the song “Snow,” performed to the delight of the freezing crowd as the storm system dumped just that on them. This Christmas weekend, listeners across most of the country will be able to easily imagine the near-whiteness of the Red Rocks concert less than two months ago.
Bryan, who almost never does interviews, has been a prolific communicator on social media since rising to stardom and has used his platforms in recent months to promise he would not go through Ticketmaster for future tours, indicating that he was still in the process of finding another way to distribute tickets. He became the highest profile artist to publicly fight Ticketmaster in such a big way since Pearl Jam in the 90s; that band, after running into obstacles in finding alternative ways to promote tours, eventually made deals with the ticketing service, which the band found satisfied their problems.
In his post on social media on Christmas Eve, Bryan wrote: “There seems to be a massive problem with fair ticket prices for live shows lately. I’ve met kids at my shows paying upwards of four hundred dollars for to be there and I’m done with it I’ve decided to play a limited number of headline shows next year where I’ve done everything I can to make the prices as cheap as possible and to prove to people that tickets doesn’t have to cost $450 to see a good and honest show… I think the working class should still be able to afford tickets to shows… I’m so sick of people saying nothing can be done about this massive issue while huge monopolies sit there and steal money from working class people.”
In particular, Bryan added, “Also, to any songwriter trying to make ‘relatable music for the working class man or woman’ (they) should be proud to fight for the people who listen to the words they sing.”
Bryan didn’t single anyone out with that comment, but some fans wondered if it was a subtweet to repeat Bruce Springsteen’s ticket controversy this year. This superstar artist took heat for allowing Ticketmaster to use its “platinum” pricing system, where the cost of certain tickets can be adjusted to go up to what the perceived market value is, in an attempt to claim the extra money that secondary sellers without for the Ticketmaster system can get. When Springsteen finally addressed the issue of some of his tickets being sold through Ticketmaster for thousands of dollars each, he indicated that he had no regrets, despite fan fury, and believed that the dynamic ticketing system was fair.
As controversy over its dominance and practices has grown this year, Ticketmaster has maintained that it is up to the artists’ camp to set prices and that as a company it does not charge much of the flat fees that consumers and, more recently, lawmakers complain about . Artists also have the right not to use the platinum system and limit the price of their best tickets.
Announcing the new album on his social media, Bryan – not one to worry about burning bridges – made sure to wish Ticketmaster a Merry Christmas by tagging the company’s handle in the album’s title.
The live album, Bryan’s third release of the year after two studio compilations, won’t be the last of what he has in the pipeline for a while. In late November, the singer-songwriter revealed that he is working on a 2023 studio album titled “Writers and Fighters.”
Bryan got his own Christmas Eve gift on Saturday when former President Barack Obama chose Bryan’s “Something in the Orange” as the one of his 25 favorite songs of 2022.