Senators Grill Ticketmaster at Antitrust Hearing After Taylor Swift Ticketing Fiasco

4 days ago 8

Lawmakers grilled a apical enforcement from Ticketmaster’s genitor institution connected Tuesday astatine the Senate Judiciary Committee’s proceeding aft the service’s mishandling of Taylor Swift’s performance summons income successful November.

Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) called upon starring ticketing bureau executives arsenic witnesses to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee connected Competition, Antitrust and Consumer Rights.

Some of the witnesses see the president and CFO of Ticketmaster’s owner, Live Nation, Joe Berchtold; Jack Groetzinger, the CEO of Ticketmaster’s competitor, SeatGeek; Jerry Mickelson, the CEO and president of JAM Productions; and instrumentalist Clyde Lawrence, who has been outspoken against Ticketmaster.

In November, Ticketmaster’s tract crashed during a presale lawsuit for Swift’s 2023 Eras tour, her archetypal successful 5 years. Millions of fans were incapable to bargain tickets oregon without their summons adjacent aft purchase.

Days later, Ticketmaster canceled the wide merchantability of tickets for Swift’s circuit owed to “extraordinarily precocious demands connected ticketing systems and insufficient remaining summons inventory to conscionable that demand.”

Epoch Times Photo Joe Berchtold, president and CFO of Live Nation Entertainment, Inc., appears earlier the Senate Judiciary Committee during a proceeding successful Washington connected Jan. 24, 2023. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Berchtold’s grounds said Live Nation has invested implicit $1 cardinal implicit the years to improve Ticketmaster.

“We apologize to the fans, we apologize to Ms. Swift, we request to bash amended and we volition bash better,” Berchtold said.

Berchtold said Ticketmaster was “hit with 3 times the magnitude of bot postulation than we had ever experienced” amid the “unprecedented request for Taylor Swift tickets.”

The bot enactment “required america to dilatory down and adjacent intermission our sales. This is what led to a unspeakable user acquisition that we profoundly regret.”

He besides called connected Congress to follow reforms to chopped down connected scalping.

“We besides request to admit however concern scalpers breaking the instrumentality using bots and cyberattacks to effort to unfairly summation tickets contributes to an atrocious user experience,” Berchtold said.

Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) said plentifulness of others, including banks and powerfulness companies, are besides predominant targets of bots but don’t endure work meltdowns.

“You ought to beryllium capable to get immoderate bully proposal from radical and fig it out,” she said.

Ticketmaster’s Fees

Fans and lawmakers accused Ticketmaster of having excessively overmuch power implicit the marketplace for performance tickets and inflating the costs of tickets with fees and work charges.

“The precocious fees, tract disruptions and cancellations that customers experienced shows how Ticketmaster’s ascendant marketplace presumption means the institution does not look immoderate unit to continually innovate and improve,” Senator Amy Klobuchar said.

Klobuchar said summons fees present mean 27 percent of the summons outgo and tin ascent arsenic precocious arsenic 75 percent.

Berchtold argued that Ticketmaster doesn’t acceptable prices oregon work fees for tickets oregon determine however galore tickets volition spell connected sale. Service fees are acceptable by venues, and that Live Nation lone owns astir 5 percent of U.S. venues, helium said.

Open Competition

Jack Groetzinger, cofounder of summons income level SeatGeek, said that even if Live Nation doesn’t ain a venue, it prevents contention by signing multi-year contracts with arenas and performance halls to supply ticketing services. If those venues don’t hold to usage Ticketmaster, Live Nation whitethorn withhold acts.

Epoch Times Photo Jack Groetzinger, CEO of SeatGeek, testifies earlier the Senate Judiciary Committee during a proceeding successful Washington connected Jan. 24, 2023. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

He called for the breakup of Live Nation and Ticketmaster, which merged successful 2010.

“As agelong arsenic Live Nation remains some the ascendant performance promoter and ticketer of large venues successful the U.S., the manufacture volition proceed to deficiency contention and struggle,” Groetzinger said.

Senator Lee said Tuesday that the Justice Department is again investigating Live Nation aft the Swift summons fiasco.

“It’s precise important that we support fair, free, unfastened and adjacent fierce competition,” Lee said. “It increases prime and it reduces price. We privation those things to happen.”

Senator John Kennedy (R-La.) suggested authorities that would marque tickets non-transferable, frankincense preventing resales.

Ticketmaster is the world’s largest summons seller, processing 500 cardinal tickets each twelvemonth successful much than 30 countries. Around 70 percent of tickets for large performance venues successful the United States are sold done Ticketmaster, according to information successful a national suit filed by consumers past year.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.