Senate holding first hearing on ticketing industry

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.)
Greg Nash
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) speaks during a roundtable discussion with candidate for Vermont Senate Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) on reproductive rights in Vermont and the country with local leaders and healthcare advocates on Friday, October 7, 2022 in Burlington, Vt.

Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) announced Tuesday that the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold its first hearing to investigate a “lack of competition” in the ticketing industry.

The announcement comes two months after Ticketmaster’s meltdown during singer Taylor Swift’s online presale prevented thousands of her fans from purchasing tickets to her upcoming tour, causing widespread outcry from the public and elected officials. At the time, Klobuchar sent a letter to Ticketmaster’s CEO that accused the company of abusing its market positions and violating a consent decree.

Klobuchar, who chairs the Judiciary panel’s Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust and Consumer Rights, said the issues within the ticketing industry were made “painfully obvious” when Ticketmaster failed Swift’s fans, but that these problems were not new.

She said the hearing, which will be held Tuesday before the entire Senate Judiciary Committee, will focus on how a consolidated ticketing industry harms both consumers and artists.

“For too long, consumers have faced high fees, long waits, and website failures, and Ticketmaster’s dominant market position means the company faces inadequate pressure to innovate and improve,” she said in the release.

“At next week’s hearing, we will examine how consolidation in the live entertainment and ticketing industries harms customers and artists alike,” she added. “Without competition to incentivize better services and fair prices, we all suffer the consequences.”

Lee, who is the ranking member of the consumer rights subcommittee, said consumers “deserve” competition in every market, including concert venues.

“I look forward to exercising our Subcommittee’s oversight authority to ensure that anticompetitive mergers and exclusionary conduct are not crippling an entertainment industry already struggling to recover from pandemic lockdowns,” Lee said.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said he looks forward to the hearings to see how they can take steps to put consumers and artists first, arguing the ticketing industry “has only gotten worse” since the consolidation of Ticketmaster and Live Nation.

“It’s been more than a decade since Ticketmaster merged with Live Nation, and competition in the ticketing and live entertainment industries has only gotten worse,” Durbin said. “Too often, consumers are the ones who pay the price for this market failure.”

Ticketmaster and Live Nation merged in 2010, a move that public officials have criticized in the wake of the company’s meltdown during Swift’s presale. Since then, the company has faced scrutiny from the Department of Justice and Swift fans have filed a class-action lawsuit due to the incident.

Tags Amy Klobuchar Amy Klobuchar Dick Durbin Mike Lee Mike Lee Senate Judiciary Committee Taylor Swift Taylor Swift Ticketmaster
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