A Senate subcommittee announced Tuesday that it would hold a hearing on the lack of competition in the ticketing industry after Taylor Swift fans faced days of chaos last week as they tried buying concert tickets through Ticketmaster.
In a statement, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., who leads the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights, which will conduct the hearing, wrote: “The high fees, site disruptions and cancellations that customers experienced shows how Ticketmaster’s dominant market position means the company does not face any pressure to continually innovate and improve.”
She added, “When there is no competition to incentivize better services and fair prices, we all suffer the consequences.” Klobuchar and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, a ranking member on the committee, did not announce a hearing date or witnesses. Klobuchar talked about her plans for a hearing when she appeared on the MSNBC “Morning Joe” show Friday.
The industry’s challenges were magnified last week when millions of Swift’s fans were locked out of buying presale tickets for the superstar’s tours. Days later, Ticketmaster announced that it would be canceling public sales for any remaining tickets “due to extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand.”
Klobuchar wrote a letter last week to the president and CEO of Live Nation Entertainment, which owns Ticketmaster, expressing concerns about “the state of competition” in the ticketing industry.
Swift weighed in on the fiasco, saying on Instagram, “It’s really difficult for me to trust an outside entity with these relationships and loyalties, and excruciating for me to just watch mistakes happen with no recourse.”
Live Nation Entertainment is the result of a merger with Live Nation and Ticketmaster that the Justice Department approved in 2010.
The Justice Department has opened an antitrust investigation into Live Nation Entertainment, looking into whether the company has abused its power in the music industry. That inquiry predated the sale of tickets for 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 behaviors that could justify antitrust litigation.”