GHOST leader Tobias Forge has commented on the recent controversy surrounding METALLICA after it was revealed that representatives for the iconic heavy metal band allegedly partnered with concert promoter Live Nation to sell portions of their tickets directly to resellers, denying fans the chance to buy tickets first at face value.
Last month, Billboard obtained a recording of an 11-minute phone call from 2017 between Live Nation's U.S. president of concerts, Bob Roux, longtime METALLICA associate Tony DiCioccio and independent promoter Vaughn Millette.
During the call, which took place prior to METALLICA's massively successful "WorldWired" tour, DiCioccio allegedly asked Roux to set aside tickets for resellers. The parties allegedly made a deal with METALLICA and Live Nation each receiving 40% of resale revenue with the remaining 20% going to DiCioccio and Millette.
According to The Pulse Of Radio, the deal reportedly set aside 4,400 tickets per show, totaling 88,000 tickets. METALLICA allegedly partnered with Live Nation again in 2018 to sell tickets directly through resale markets, although representatives for the band told Billboard that the members weren't aware of the deal.
Asked whether there is "any way thousands of tickets to a GHOST show could go directly to a reseller" without him ever knowing anything about it, Forge — whose band has served as the support act for the entire summer 2019 European leg of the "WorldWired" tour — said (hear audio below): "Probably. I have no idea. I've understood that the world of ticketing is a science, and that's a science practiced by many peddlers outside of our reach, which is a problem. It's a problem, because it tempers with the relationship between the artist and the fans, because, unfortunately, it can affect a fan very negatively. But also the thought and the impression from the fans thinking that it's the work of the artist. And as far as I know, I've never known of an artist that did so intentionally. It's usually some other service that did it.
"Over the years of online sales, there have been many, many controversies of this sort," he continued. "And I'm also speaking as a citizen of Sweden, and I'm assuming that we have these issues in every country, but just in Sweden, there was, like, a lot of alternative sort of web sites. Before the official tickets were restricted down to three or four or two or five per purchase, you had these pages that bought thousands of tickets. I remember, like, 10, 15, 20 years ago, it was insane — you could go to a show that was sold out and still, there was, like, 70 percent there. It's, like, that doesn't add up.
"I find it sad to hear when that happens," Forge added. "I'm not commenting on what they [METALLICA] are [dealing with], because I don't know anything about that situation. But I know that there's a lot of things going on and a lot of… As with anything in society now, there's always shysters that try to come up with ways to put themselves and their business between, let's say, the producer and the client. Same thing with Uber and all these kinds of apps that just put themselves in between what usually has been a normal trade affair. But it seems like there's very little that you can do about it. Especially if you're one of the parts. There's nothing, as an artist — especially on my level — there's nothing that I can do to change that business."
Forge founded GHOST more than a decade ago and has written almost all of the group's music, while also performing for years in costume as first Papa Emeritus and now Cardinal Copia. His real name was a mystery for much of that time and still does not appear on GHOST LPs.
GHOST's latest album, "Prequelle", debuted in June 2018 at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 chart. The band will embark on a North American tour this fall in support of the disc, starting on September 13 in Bakersfield, California and wrapping on October 26 in Glens Falls, New York.