Taylor Swift’s Ticketmaster Chaos Sparks US Senate Antitrust Hearing | Taylor Swift

A U.S. Senate antitrust panel will continue hearings on insufficient competition in the nation’s ticketing industry following Ticketmaster’s problems last week with managing Taylor Swift ticket sales.

Ticketmaster’s parent company, Live Nation, is blaming presale problems for Swift’s Eras tour — the pop superstar’s first U.S. tour in five years — on “unprecedented demand” and efforts to prevent bots running ticket scalpers.

After registered fans spent hours dealing with glitches to get pre-sale tickets, and tickets quickly started appearing for resale for up to $22,700 (£19,100, AUD33,500), Ticketmaster canceled the sale to the general public. She later claimed that demand for Swift tickets “could fill 900 stadiums”.

Swift said it was “excruciating” for her to watch fans struggle to secure tickets, and that she was assured Ticketmaster could handle the demand.

The chaos has attracted the attention of US politicians, many of whom have expressed concern about how dominant Ticketmaster has become after it merged with entertainment company Live Nation in 2010.

Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti said he would launch a consumer protection investigation into the company after his office was bombarded with complaints from Swift fans.

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also criticized the merger. “We are reminded daily that Ticketmaster is a monopoly, its merger with Live Nation should never have been approved, and it needs to be reined in,” she said. he tweeted. “Break them up.”

On Tuesday, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who will chair the panel, and Sen. Mike Lee, the top Republican on the committee, announced that the Senate hearing would continue. They have not yet announced the date or the list of witnesses.

“The high fees, site disruptions and cancellations customers have experienced show how Ticketmaster’s market dominance means the company faces no pressure to constantly innovate and improve,” Klobuchar said. “We will hold a hearing on how consolidation in the live entertainment and ticketing industry is hurting both customers and artists.”

Ticketmaster has denied any anti-competitive practices and said it remained under a consent decree with the Justice Department after the 2010 merger, adding that there was no “evidence of a systemic violation of the consent decree.”

“Ticketmaster has a significant share of the primary ticketing service market due to the large gap that exists between the quality of Ticketmaster’s system and the next best primary ticketing system,” the company said.

Klobuchar was one of three lawmakers who argued in a letter Monday that Ticketmaster and Live Nation should be taken apart by the Justice Department if the ongoing investigation finds any wrongdoing.

In recent years, the department has shown a much greater willingness to file antitrust lawsuits against giant companies — including the pending Google lawsuit in December 2020 — and to fight mergers.

Reuters contributed to this report

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