A US Senate special committee will hold a hearing to investigate the lack of competition in the ticketing industry after thousands of Taylor Swift fans were disappointed by online sellers.
It comes after reports of significant service outages and delays on the Ticketmaster website prevented fans from purchasing tickets for the pop megastar’s Eras Tour last Thursday.
The company eventually canceled general sale to buy tickets for the US leg of Swift’s tour, citing “insufficient ticket stock” to meet “extremely high demands”.
General ticket sales were scheduled to begin the following Friday morning after the verified fan presale, before Ticketmaster canceled the public sale altogether.
Senator Amy Klobuchar said the incident made the problem in the ticketing markets “painfully clear” as she and fellow Senator Mike Lee announced plans for the hearing.
The pair serve as chair and senior member of the Senate Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust and Consumer Rights, respectively.
“Last week, the competition problem in the ticketing market became painfully obvious when Ticketmaster’s website abandoned hundreds of thousands of fans hoping to buy concert tickets,” Ms Klobuchar 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.
“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.”
She later added on Twitter that the problem “went far beyond Taylor Swift”.
Mr. Lee added, “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.”
The date of the hearing and the witnesses will be announced at a later date.
In the wake of the Ticketmaster debacle, Swift expressed her anger and frustration at the hours fans spent trying to buy tickets.
She posted a story to Instagram and wrote, “I’m not going to make excuses for anyone because we asked them multiple times if they could meet this kind of demand and we were confident they could.
“It’s really amazing that 2.4 million people got tickets, but it really pisses me off that a lot of them feel like they went through several bear attacks to get them.”
Of those who lost, Swift said she hopes to “give us more opportunities to all get together and sing these songs”.
The singer’s 52-date Eras Tour kicks off March 17 in Glendale, Arizona, and concludes with five shows in Los Angeles ending on August 9.
It’s Swift’s first tour since 2018.