Senators raise pressure on Live Nation over ticketing industry monopoly

Ticketmaster hearing
AP/Andrew Harnik
From left, Live Nation Entertainment, Inc. President And Chief Financial Officer Joe Berchtold, SeatGeek, Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jack Groetzinger, Jam Productions LLC Chief Executive Officer And President Jerry Mickelson, The James Madison Institute Senior Vice President Sal Nuzzo, American Antitrust Institute Vice President For Legal Advocacy Kathleen Bradish, and Singer-Songwriter Clyde Lawrence are sworn in to testify before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to examine promoting competition and protecting consumers in live entertainment on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

A bipartisan pair of senators further pressed the leader of Live Nation Entertainment on Friday to answer questions about the ticketing company’s dominance of the industry following testimony he gave before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week.

Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), the chairwoman and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust and Consumer Rights, sent a letter to Live Nation Entertainment President and Chief Financial Officer Joe Berchtold to request he respond to a series of questions by Feb. 15. 

“As the hearing demonstrated, there is a strong bipartisan consensus about taking steps to improve the way America’s ticketing industry functions,” the senators wrote. “We must ensure that we have competition in the market to drive down prices, encourage companies to innovate, and give consumers choice.” 

Berchtold testified before the committee last week as part of its investigation into “how consolidation in the live entertainment and ticketing industries harms consumers and artists.” 

Live Nation Entertainment, which is the parent company of Live Nation and TicketMaster, came under controversy in November after millions of fans of singer Taylor Swift were unable to buy tickets on the website or did not receive their tickets despite making a purchase. 

The debacle caused lawmakers to raise concerns about potential monopolistic behavior from the company that makes up a large part of the industry. 

Live Nation defended itself in the aftermath of the chaos, saying that demand for Swift’s concerts greatly exceeded expectations and available tickets, causing technical difficulties online. 

“Music and live events connect communities and bring people together,” Klobuchar and Lee wrote in the letter. “It is vital that we keep the concert experience accessible to everyone, and competition plays an important role to help achieve that goal.” 

Their questions include whether testimony given to the committee is true that almost 90 percent of Top 40 tours in the U.S. in 2022 were performed at venues ticketed by TicketMaster and that more than 85 percent of NBA, NHL and NFL teams have exclusive ticketing agreements with the company. 

They also asked how many concerts per year happen where TicketMaster is the ticketer and Live Nation is the promoter, and if Live Nation will agree to third-party audits to confirm it is not threatening to retaliate against venues that use other ticketing providers beyond 2026. 

The letter comes as tickets for Beyoncé’s world tour are about to go on sale, and TicketMaster has warned that demand for tickets is 800 percent higher than the number available.

The company said it has taken steps like staggering ticket sales and setting registration time windows by location to avoid a similar situation to what happened in the Swift case.

Tags Amy Klobuchar Amy Klobuchar Beyoncé Knowles-Carter Live Nation Mike Lee Mike Lee Senate Judiciary Committee Taylor Swift Taylor Swift Ticketmaster

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