In a bipartisan response to the Taylor Swift ticketing fiasco by Ticketmaster, Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) announced Tuesday that a Senate subcommittee will hold a hearing to assess the lack of competition in the ticketing industry.
The hearing, which has not yet been scheduled, will be held before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust Law and Consumer Rights, which Klobuchar chairs and Lee serves as ranking member. The announcement comes a week after Ticketmaster, which controls the majority of ticket sales in the US, came under massive scrutiny for misselling tickets to Swift’s upcoming stadium tour.
“Last week, the problem with competition in ticket markets became painfully obvious when Ticketmaster’s website failed hundreds of thousands of fans hoping to purchase concert tickets,” Klobuchar said in a statement. “The high fees, site outages and cancellations experienced by customers show how Ticketmaster’s dominant market position means the company faces no pressure to continuously innovate and improve.”
Lee added that “American consumers deserve to benefit from competition in every market, from grocery chains to concert halls,” and noted the importance of supporting “an entertainment industry already struggling to recover from pandemic lockdowns.” .
In a statement responding to news of the upcoming hearing, Ticketmaster defended itself, saying it “has a significant share of the primary ticketing market because of the wide gap that exists between the quality of the Ticketmaster system and the next best primary ticketing system. ”
Much of the criticism of Ticketmaster this past week has focused on its 2010 merger with Live Nation, which left the company in control of about 70 percent of the ticket market. Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.) was among the first prominent voices to call out the problem amid Swift’s crazy ticket sales last Tuesday, tweeting: “Ticketmaster is a monopoly, [its] the LiveNation merger should never have been approved, but it should be [reined] Smash them.
Critics say the company’s apparent monopoly has allowed it to get away with providing a service riddled with technical issues that is unable to meet customer demand. Many people frustrated by last week’s ticket-buying ordeal stressed that Ticketmaster had approved a certain number of customers for access to Tuesday’s sale and therefore should have been adequately prepared to meet what it later called “historically unprecedented demand.” .
Instead, many of these customers were met with various error messages and hours of waiting when they tried to make their purchases. Fans who couldn’t make it on Tuesday were disappointed again when Ticketmaster outright canceled its planned sale of more tickets later in the week.
Swift, one of the most popular recording artists of all time, eventually weighed in on the mess, telling fans she was also disappointed with Ticketmaster.
“I’m not going to make excuses to anybody because we asked them several times if they could handle this kind of demand and they assured us they could,” she said of the company. “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 a few bear attacks to get them.”