Metallica, The largest and most profitable metal band in the world are under scrutiny over a secretly recorded phone call detailing a ticket sales and profits scandal regarding their World Wired North American Tour.
The Metallica ticket sales scandal was first reported by Billboard, the phone call took place days before the tour announcement back in February of 2017, and has the Live Nation president of U.S. concerts, Bob Roux, Metallica ticketing consultant Tony DiCioccio, and third party promoter Vaughn Millette, discussing plans to sell 4,400 tickets per show to secondary markets, commonly known as ticket scalpers. The report claims “Metallica would get 40% of the resale revenue, Live Nation 40%, DiCioccio 12% and Millette 8%, though another source said Live Nation’s share was lower.”
Allegedly the plan was transpired after Metallica’s 2016 Minneapolis show garnered more than 10,000 tickets from scalpers, but did so “without the band’s participation.” While Live Nation states it “does not have a practice of placing tickets on the secondary market,” it instead uses VIP packages and Ticketmaster Platinum “to help tours price closer to true market value.”
Although Live Nation doesn’t practice these tactics, the company does state it “has facilitated the quiet transfer of concert tickets directly into the hands of re-sellers through the years, though only at the request of the artists involved – who control where the tickets are initially sold.” In this case the band’s consultant, Tony DiCioccio, may have opted for the ticketing plan without the band knowing, as representatives from Metallica told Billboard the band members were unaware of the ticketing deal made by DiCioccio.
However, Billboard does gather from those who’ve worked with the band that DiCioccio is “family” to Metallica, and a source reports “if there’s 5 seats on the jet flying home, it’s the band and Tony.” A publicist from Metallica also made clear that DiCioccio is still employed by the band.
It seems unlikely Metallica knew about the ordeal, but it’s rather strange and disheartening nonetheless…
In an 2016 interview, CTV News asked Metallica’s James Hetfield, “Do you think Ticketmaster and other ticket sellers have a responsibility to implement more technology to prevent mass resales?” To which Hetfield replied…
“Technology can help, for sure. Gosh, the way certain things work with security online … it’s harder for me to get onto an airplane. It’s hard to believe something more can’t be done. There’s legal scalping out there too, which is kind of frustrating — your Stubhubs and what not — all the sudden, “Hey wow, we just sold 10,000 tickets. And where did they go? To one place? Interesting.” We’re aware of it and doing what we can. At the end of the day the fan gets screwed and we get screwed. That shouldn’t happen.” – Frontman James Hetfield
On Metallica’s end of things, a rep says the band was completely unaware of DiCoiccio’s dirty dealings. Do you believe Metallica was completely in the dark on this deal? What’s the highest you’ve had to pay for a ticket after a show “sold out?”
Disheartened Metallica fans all over the internet are drawing their own conclusions, as are we.