How weird this this? Pearl Jam and Ticketmaster vs. the world.

[This was my weekly column for GlobalNews.ca. – AC]

On May 6, 1994, Pearl Jam, a powerful new band imbued with a sense of social justice, filed a memorandum with the antitrust division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Outraged by what they saw as gouging fans with exorbitant service charges and fees added to the price of concert tickets, they wanted to take Ticketmaster down. At the very least, they were on a mission to break up what they viewed as the company’s monopolistic and anti-competitive hold on selling tickets.

The Justice Department was totally on board with this. In fact, it was the government that approached and then encouraged the band to file the complaint.

As the case wound its way through the system and various congressional subcommittee hearings, Pearl Jam tried to create their own ticket-distribution network using a company called ETM Entertainment. But because Ticketmaster had an exclusive lock on selling tickets at so many venues, the effort collapsed.

Then, on July 5, 1995, the Justice Department declared the investigation was over. Pearl Jam had lost.

There’s more. Way more. Go here for the rest.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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