Senate panel to hold hearing following Taylor Swift, Ticketmaster fiasco

The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust and Consumer Rights will hold a hearing to examine competition in the ticketing industry after Ticketmaster saw widespread issues selling tickets to artist Taylor Swift’s latest concert tour.

Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) said the disastrous pre-sale for Swift’s “Eras Tour” highlighted problems with consolidation and the lack of incentive for Ticketmaster — which merged with Live Nation in 2010 to dominate the market — to provide better services. 

“Last week, the competition problem in ticketing markets was made painfully obvious when Ticketmaster’s website failed hundreds of thousands of fans hoping to purchase concert tickets,” said committee Chair Klobuchar in a statement announcing the hearing. 

“The high fees, site disruptions and cancellations that customers experienced shows how Ticketmaster’s dominant market position means the company does not face any pressure to continually innovate and improve,” she said.

After technical issues caused long queues, freezing pages and presale delays on the site, Ticketmaster eventually canceled the public sale for the tour.

Klobuchar wrote a letter last week to Live Nation Entertainment’s President and CEO Michael Rapino expressing “serious concerns” about Ticketmaster’s anti-competitive operations and price-gouging behavior. 

The Department of Justice opened an investigation into Live Nation, reportedly looking into whether Ticketmaster has monopolized the market. The investigation predated Ticketmaster’s Taylor Swift fiasco.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called for the ticketing company to be broken up after Swift fans’ highly publicized problems getting tickets.

“Daily reminder that Ticketmaster is a monopoly, it’s [sic] merger with LiveNation should never have been approved, and they need to be reigned in. Break them up,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

Lee, the ranking member on the subcommittee with Klobuchar, on Tuesday underscored the importance of competition in every market.

“I look forward to exercising our Subcommittee’s oversight authority to ensure that anticompetitive mergers and exclusionary conduct are not crippling an entertainment industry already struggling to recover from pandemic lockdowns,” Lee said.

Read More: Senate panel to hold hearing following Taylor Swift, Ticketmaster fiasco

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