The U.S. Senate Antitrust Committee will investigate anti-competitive behavior in the nation’s ticketing industry after last week’s problems managing the sale of Ticketmaster. Taylor Swift Tickets.
Ticketmaster’s parent company, Live Nation, blamed presale problems for Swift’s Eras tour – the pop superstar’s first US tour in five years – on “unprecedented demand” and an attempt to crack down on bots run by ticket scalpers.
Registered fans battled bottlenecks for hours to get tickets in the presale, and tickets went on sale quickly. Appears for resale at US$22,700 (£19,100, A$33,500), Ticketmaster has canceled sales to the general public. It later claimed demand for Swift tickets “Could have filled 900 stadiums”.
Swift called it “painful”. He also promised that Ticketmaster would be able to cope with the demand, looking at fans struggling to get tickets.
The mess has drawn the attention of US politicians, many of whom have expressed concern about how Ticketmaster has become dominant after its 2010 merger with entertainment company Live Nation.
Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti said he would launch a consumer protection investigation into the company after his office was bombed. Complaints from Swift fans.
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has also criticized the merger. “It’s a daily reminder that Ticketmaster is a monopoly, its affiliation with Live Nation should never have been approved and should be regulated,” he said. Tweeted. “Break them down.”
On Tuesday, Senator Amy Klobuchar, who chairs the committee, and Senator Mike Lee, the top Republican on the committee, announced that the Senate investigation would continue. They have yet to provide a date or list of witnesses.
“The high fees, site disruptions and cancellations experienced by customers show how the company faces no pressure to continually innovate and improve Ticketmaster’s dominant market position,” Klobuchar said. “We will investigate how consolidation in the live entertainment and ticketing industry is harming consumers and artists.”
Ticketmaster denied any anti-competitive practices and said it was under a Justice Department consent decree after the 2010 merger, saying there was no “evidence of systematic violations of the consent decree.”
“Due to the large gap between the quality of the Ticketmaster system and the next best primary ticketing system, Ticketmaster has a significant share of the primary ticketing service market,” the company said.
Klobuchar was one of three lawmakers who argued in a letter Monday that Ticketmaster and LiveNation should be broken up by the Justice Department if the ongoing investigation finds any misconduct.
In recent years, the industry has proven more willing to file antitrust lawsuits against giants — including a December 2020 case against Google — and fight mergers.
Reuters contributed to this report