The Taylor Swift Eras tour fiasco on Ticketmaster in November may have shed light on a bigger problem. A Senate antitrust and consumer rights subcommittee says it will hold an audience – on a date to be determined – on the sale of concert tickets after the debacle.
US Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Mike Lee (R-UT) say they will investigate the lack of competition in the ticketing industry. “The high fees, site outages and cancellations experienced by customers show how Ticketmaster’s dominant market position means the company doesn’t face any pressure to continually innovate and improve,” says Klobuchar.
On November 15, Ticketmaster experienced issues and slowdowns on the site during the Swift pre-sale for verified fans. The company sold two million tickets during pre-sale, but continued to experience problems the following days, causing Ticketmaster to cancel the general sale due to high demand. Fans were quick to take to social media, criticizing the entertainment giant and voicing their concerns.
“American consumers deserve the benefit of competition in all markets, from supermarket chains to concert venues,” says Lee.
The Senate hearing announcement follows a Minnesota senator writing an open letter to Ticketmaster Chairman and CEO Michael Rapino, questioning the company about its business practices. He also explained that she has been skeptical of the company since it merged with Live Nation in 2010.
Other legislators quickly weighed in, with Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA) joining Klobuchar in calling on the Justice Department to hold the company accountable for “anticompetitive behavior and investigate the state of competition in the market for live entertainment.” Top legal bosses in several states also added that they have launched investigations into Ticketmaster.
US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez additionalon Twitter, during the Swift ticket debacle: “daily reminder that Ticketmaster is a monopoly, their merger with Live Nation should never have been approved, and they need to be reined in.”
Prior to the topic of ticket sales, Live Nation released its most recent earnings report on November 3. According to the results, Live Nation saw 44 million fans attend 11,000 of its events in the most recent quarter, with concert ticket sales up 34 percent.
While the date of the Senate panel hearing has not been released at this time, the White House also aware on Twitter saying the Biden Administration wants to reduce “junk fees” for tickets, airlines and hotels.