Senate Judiciary Committee to Hold Hearing on Ticketing Contest After Taylor Swift Tour Sales Drama

U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Mike Lee of the Senate Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust and Consumer Rights confirmed Tuesday (Nov. 22) that they will hold a hearing to “examine” what they say is a “lack of competition in the ticketing industry.” industry”.

In a press release, they write that the hearing follows “significant service outages and delays on Ticketmaster’s website that prevented fans from purchasing concert tickets.”

Klobuchar and Lee said the hearing date and witnesses will be announced at a later date.

On Tuesday (Nov. 15), last week, demand outstripped supply during the presale of the superstar Eras Tour “Verified Fan.” The tour was approved by Live nationowned by Ticketmaster. The tour’s promoter is Live Nation rival AEG.

The debacle sparked calls, including from members of Congress, for Live Nation and Ticketmaster to disassemble.

On Thursday (Nov. 17), Amy Klobuchar, chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust and Consumer Rights, wrote a letter Michael Rapino, president and CEO of Live Nation, who expressed concern about what she says is “the lack of competition in the ticketing industry.”

Now that committee is going one step further by holding a hearing.

In a statement released Tuesday, Klobuchar claimed that “the high rates, site outages and cancellations customers have experienced show how Ticketmaster’s dominant market position means the company is under no pressure to continuously innovate and improve.”

Live Nation and Ticketmaster merged in 2010 and the deal was reviewed and subsequently approved by the US Department of Justice with a few conditions.

One was the Consent Decree—an antitrust agreement signed in 2010—that allowed Live Nation to merge with Ticketmaster and included safeguards to prevent anti-competitive behavior in the years following the merger.

For example, it prohibited Live Nation from “retaliating” against concert venues for using other ticketing companies, or threatening venues.

That consent decree was supposed to end in 2020, but the DOJ extended it with five and a half years.


In a blog post published last week, which was originally removedand subsequently republished with updated numbers and a written apology to Swift and her fans, Ticketmaster defended its Verified Fan system, saying it was “designed to help manage in-demand shows — identifying real people and removing bump.”

The platform noted that more than 3.5 million people had pre-registered for Taylor Swift tickets, which the platform says is “the largest registration in history.”

Ticketmaster then sent codes to 1.5 million people to enter the sale for all 52 show dates, including the 47 sold by Ticketmaster.

“The remaining 2 million verified fans were placed on a waiting list with the slim chance that tickets would still be available after those who received codes shopped,” it said.

“The high rates, disruptions and site cancellations that customers have experienced demonstrate how Ticketmaster’s dominant market position ensures that the company is not under pressure to continuously innovate and improve.”

Amy Clobuchar

Klobuchar said: “Last week the competition problem in the ticket markets became painfully obvious when the Ticketmaster website abandoned hundreds of thousands of fans hoping to buy concert tickets.

“The high rates, disruptions and site cancellations that customers have experienced demonstrate how Ticketmaster’s dominant market position ensures that the company is not under pressure to continuously innovate and improve.

“That is why we will hold a hearing on how consolidation in the live entertainment and ticketing industry is hurting both customers and artists. If there is no competition to drive better services and fair prices, we all suffer the consequences.”

“U.S. consumers deserve the benefit of competition in every market, from supermarket chains to concert halls.”

Mike Lee

Lee said, “U.S. consumers deserve the benefit of competition in every market, from supermarket chains to concert halls.

“I look forward to exercising our subcommittee’s oversight authority to ensure that anti-competitive mergers and exclusionary behaviors do not cripple an entertainment industry already struggling to recover from pandemic lockdowns.”

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