Senate hearing on Ticketmaster planned after Taylor Swift ticket mess – Billboard

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) Taylor Swift is following up on last week’s open letter to Live Nation over “dramatic service failures” during the presale, with a hearing on competition in the ticketing industry. Senator and his full counterpart on the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust and Consumer Rights, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) jointly announced the hearing, with a date and witness list to come.

“Last week, the problem with competition in the ticketing markets became painfully clear when Ticketmaster’s website failed thousands of fans hoping to buy concert tickets,” Klobuchar said without mentioning Swift. “The high fees, site disruption and cancellations that customers have experienced demonstrate how Ticketmaster’s dominant market position means the company does not face any pressure to continually innovate and improve.”

Klobuchar said the hearing would examine the effects of consolidation in ticketing – namely that the lack of competition suppresses the need to improve services and maintain fair prices.

Lee said consumers “deserve the benefits of competition in every market, from grocery chains to concert venues. I look forward to exercising our subcommittee’s oversight authority to ensure that competition Anti-merger and exclusionary practices are not crippling an entertainment industry already struggling to recover from the pandemic lockdown.

In addition to a possible grilling by US senators, Live Nation and Ticketmaster are said to be under investigation by the Department of Justice over whether the companies maintain an illegal monopoly on the live event ticketing ecosystem. test, according to new York TimesThis predates the current debacle involving Swift’s tour pre-sales.

Ticketmaster has apologized for the problematic rollout, which began on November 15 when millions of Swift fans overwhelmed a presale for her Eras Tour – which led to site crashes and hours-long waits, many fans Left empty handed and possibly, new to politics. Ticketmaster also canceled the general sale.

“I apologize to all our fans. We are working hard on this,” said Liberty Media CEO and Live Nation President Greg Maffei said in an appearance on CNBC last Thursday. “Building capacity for peak demand is something we strive to do, but it has exceeded every expectation.”

Swift’s tour is actually being promoted by Live Nation competitor AEG, which has reported Board It “had no choice” due to Ticketmaster’s “exclusive deal with most venues on the Eras tour” in terms of ticket sales and distribution.

Ticketmaster and Live Nation have long been dogged by allegations that they unfairly dominate the market for live concerts, especially since they merged in 2010 to form their current structure. The combined entity has operated for its entire existence under a so-called consent decree imposed by the DOJ when approving the merger. Under the decree, Live Nation is prohibited from retaliating against venues that refuse to use Ticketmaster. Those restrictions were set to expire in 2020, but were extended for five years in 2019 after the DOJ accused Live Nation of repeatedly violating the decree.

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