Rep. Pascrell Calls for Live Nation Breakup in Wake of Astroworld Tragedy Rep. Pascrell Calls for Live Nation Breakup in Wake of Astroworld Tragedy
Representative Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) has renewed his calls for tighter regulation on Live Nation Entertainment in the wake of the weekend’s tragedy at Astroworld... Rep. Pascrell Calls for Live Nation Breakup in Wake of Astroworld Tragedy

Representative Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) has renewed his calls for tighter regulation on Live Nation Entertainment in the wake of the weekend’s tragedy at Astroworld in Texas. Pascrell expressed both sorrow for those impacted and their families, and his belief that the tragedy reflects a “monopoly” in need of reigning in.

“I am shocked and devastated by the death and injuries at Astroworld and I feel for the victims and their families,” said Rep. Pascrell. “The scale of destruction is unfathomable and organizers have a lot of questions to answer about why they were ill prepared for what happened. Reports suggesting festival organizers seeking to prevent deadly incidents at future live events are afraid to speak freely because they’re intimidated by Live Nation’s marketplace dominance are outrageous. For over a decade, Live Nation and its Ticketmaster partners have held absolute power over the live events market. The costs for fans, while largely financial, apparently may also include physical harm as well. Live Nation should be broken up so they might focus on people as much as they do profits.”

At Astroworld on Saturday, hundreds were injured and 12 were killed in a crowd “crush” caused by audience members being packed too tightly as headliner Travis Scott took the stage. Live Nation Entertainment was one of the principal promoters of the event, which saw an estimated 50,000 in attendance at NRG Park in Houston. In the wake of the tragedy, questions have arisen about the frequency of serious injuries and deaths at events put on by Live Nation, and a flurry of lawsuits has already been filed, with many more expected to come.

Pascrell has long been a critic of Live Nation Entertainment regarding its control of what he describes as a monopolistic portion of the business in the United States. He is one of the principal sponsors of the Better Online Secondary Sales (BOSS) Act, which introduces a number of new controls on ticket sales and ticket resale. It is currently being considered in the Energy and Commerce Committee in the House of Representatives.

The full release from Pascrell’s office is included below:

Pascrell Offers Condolences Following Catastrophic Astroworld Tragedy

Longtime critic of Live Nation reiterates calls to regulate live events monopoly

PATERSON, NJ – U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), Congress’s leading watchdog of the live events ticket market, today expressed sorrow for the loss of life and stunning scale of injury at the disastrous Astroworld Festival put on by the monopoly Live Nation Entertainment.

“I am shocked and devastated by the death and injuries at Astroworld and I feel for the victims and their families,” said Rep. Pascrell. “The scale of destruction is unfathomable and organizers have a lot of questions to answer about why they were ill prepared for what happened. Reports suggesting festival organizers seeking to prevent deadly incidents at future live events are afraid to speak freely because they’re intimidated by Live Nation’s marketplace dominance are outrageous. For over a decade, Live Nation and its Ticketmaster partners have held absolute power over the live events market. The costs for fans, while largely financial, apparently may also include physical harm as well. Live Nation should be broken up so they might focus on people as much as they do profits.”

In April 2020, Reps. Pascrell and Katie Porter (D-CA-45) blistered Live Nation for refused to provide full refunds to customers for events cancelled by the pandemic. Following the members’ letter, Live Nation issued many refunds.

Congressman Pascrell has been a leader in Congress calling for regulation of the opaque live events ticket market. Pascrell was an early critic of the Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger, and repeatedly urged the Obama administration to reject it, warning that the union would crush competition and harm consumers. In May 2018, Pascrell wrote an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times on his attempts to impose greater positive regulation on the broken live events ticket market.

Two months later, Reps. Pascrell and now House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ-06) wrote a letter to Federal Trade Commission chairman Joseph Simons highlighting a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study which found a myriad of consumer protection and competition issues in the primary and secondary live event ticket markets. The GAO report was commissioned in response to Pallone and Pascrell’s work, and the members urged Simons to do more to protect consumers in the marketplace. In response, the FTC organized a workshop on event tickets held in June 2019 to review many of the challenges faced by ticket-buying fans.

Pascrell is the principal sponsor of the BOSS Act, overarching legislation that will impose a basic level of transparency upon the ticket industry so fans have a fair chance to purchase tickets on the primary market and also seeks to protect consumers who choose to use the secondary market to purchase tickets. The legislation is currently being considered by the Energy and Commerce Committee. A full section-by-section breakdown of the legislation is available here.

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