A Senate subcommittee announced on Tuesday it would hold a hearing into the lack of competition in the ticketing industry after Taylor Swift fans faced days of chaos last week as they attempted to buy concert tickets through Ticketmaster.
In a statement, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who leads the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust and Consumer Rights, which will lead the hearing, wrote: market position means that the company is under no pressure to innovate and continuously improve.
She added: “When there is no competition to incentivize better services and fair prices, we all suffer the consequences.” Ms. Klobuchar, a Democrat, and Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, a Republican and a prominent member of the committee, did not announce a hearing date or witnesses. Ms Klobuchar opened up about her court plans when she appeared on MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ show last Friday.
The industry’s challenges were amplified last week when millions of Ms Swift’s fans were barred from buying pre-sale tickets for the superstar’s tours. A few days later, Ticketmaster announcement that it would cancel public sales for all remaining tickets “due to extraordinarily high demands on the ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand”.
Ms Klobuchar wrote a letter to the chairman and CEO of Live Nation Entertainment, owner of Ticketmaster, last week expressing concerns about the “state of competition” in the ticketing industry.
Ms Swift weighed in on the fiasco, saying on Instagram: “It’s really hard for me to trust an outside entity with these relationships and loyalties, and it’s excruciating for me to just watch mistakes happen without recourse. .”
Live Nation Entertainment is the result of a merger with Live Nation and Ticketmaster approved by the Department of Justice in 2010.
The Department of Justice has opened an antitrust investigation into Live Nation Entertainment, to determine whether the company abused its power in the music industry. This investigation predates the sale of tickets for Ms Swift’s tour.
Live Nation addressed its competitive practices in a statement on its website Friday, saying it takes antitrust laws seriously and “does not engage in behavior that could warrant antitrust litigation.”