U.S. Senate to Hold Hearing on Competition in Ticketing Industry U.S. Senate to Hold Hearing on Competition in Ticketing Industry
Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Mike Lee (R-UT) announced plans to hold a hearing to examine the lack of competition in the ticketing industry... U.S. Senate to Hold Hearing on Competition in Ticketing Industry

Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Mike Lee (R-UT) announced plans to hold a hearing to examine the lack of competition in the ticketing industry in the wake of the Taylor Swift debacle that has dominated headlines for more than a week. The senators are the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights.

“Last week, the competition problem in ticketing markets was made painfully obvious when Ticketmaster’s website failed hundreds of thousands of fans hoping to purchase concert tickets. The high fees, site disruptions and cancellations that customers experienced shows how Ticketmaster’s dominant market position means the company does not face any pressure to continually innovate and improve,” said Klobuchar. “That’s why we will hold a hearing on how consolidation in the live entertainment and ticketing industry harms customers and artists alike. When there is no competition to incentivize better services and fair prices, we all suffer the consequences.”

“American consumers deserve the benefit of competition in every market, from grocery chains to concert venues,” said Lee. “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.”

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Sen. Lee’s comments are notable, as the first public statements regarding anti-trust concerns in ticketing to come from the Republican side of the aisle, after a wide swath of Democratic lawmakers have come out with condemning statements and calls for investigation of Live Nation and Ticketmaster, which hold an enormous share of the market in the U.S. and worldwide.

The hearing date has not yet been announced, nor have the witnesses.

Sen. Klobuchar is one of the many lawmakers who have spoken out against Ticketmaster and its parent Live Nation in the wake of the Taylor Swift Eras Tour onsale debacle, which drew fan complaints over glitchy systems and stress-filled delays, with millions missing out on tickets. Klobuchar published a critical letter to Live Nation Entertainment CEO Michael Rapino last week in the immediate aftermath of the sales mess.

On Monday, the Minnesota Senator joined fellow Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Edward Markey (D-MA) in calling on the Department of Justice to take serious action against Ticketmaster/Live Nation should the newly revealed competition investigation find anti-competitive behavior, up to and including reversing the approval of the 2010 merger that brought the companies together.

“If the investigation reveals that Live Nation has continued to abuse its dominant market position notwithstanding two prior consent decrees, we urge the Department to consider unwinding the Ticketmaster-Live Nation merger and breaking up the company,” the senators wrote. “This may be the only way to truly protect consumers, artists, and venue operators and to restore competition in the ticketing market.”

Allegations of anti-competitive behavior have dogged Live Nation and Ticketmaster for years, and the DOJ did investigate claims they had violated a consent decree they agreed to as a part of their 2010 merger in 2019. But, in spite of finding several instances of violating the decree, the entertainment giants got away with a slap on the wrist in 2020 by way of fines and an extension of the consent decree. The company was also supposed to appear before a House committee to answer questions related to its role in the Astroworld tragedy a year ago, but that has been on hold for close to a year after the initial scheduled date was pushed back and seemingly forgotten about.

Live Nation has not directly addressed the Swift controversy, but has issued a statement in defense of its overall operation in response to lawmakers condemnation of its allegedly monopolistic operations, which they say were integral to the issues that Swift fans faced, due to the company and its ticketing subsidiary having a chokehold on the live entertainment business. Ticketmaster has apologized, but largely blamed unexpected demand for the failures.

Sentiment against the companies that many estimate controls more than 80 percent of the ticketing and venue markets is arguably at an all-time high in the wake of the Taylor Swift tour mess. Even the singer spoke out against the failures of the system that was in place for the overwhelming majority of the 52-date tour due to its massive network of exclusive venue ticketing contracts.

Taylor Swift Ticket Links

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Taylor Swift The Eras Tour Dates

Friday, March 17 – Glendale, AZ | State Farm Stadium !&
Saturday, March 18 – Glendale, AZ | State Farm Stadium !&
Friday, March 24 – Las Vegas, NV | Allegiant Stadium %&
Saturday, March 25 – Las Vegas, NV | Allegiant Stadium %&
Friday, March 31 – Arlington, TX | AT&T Stadium %+
Saturday, April 1 – Arlington, TX | AT&T Stadium %+
Sunday, April 2 – Arlington, TX | AT&T Stadium %+
Thursday, April 13 – Tampa, FL | Raymond James Stadium %+
Friday, April 14 – Tampa, FL | Raymond James Stadium %+
Saturday, April 15 – Tampa, FL | Raymond James Stadium %+
Friday, April 21 – Houston, TX | NRG Stadium %+
Saturday, April 22 – Houston, TX | NRG Stadium %+
Sunday, April 23 – Houston, TX | NRG Stadium %+
Friday, April 28 – Atlanta, GA | Mercedes-Benz Stadium %+
Saturday, April 29 – Atlanta, GA | Mercedes-Benz Stadium %+
Sunday, April 30 – Atlanta, GA | Mercedes-Benz Stadium %+
Friday, May 5 – Nashville, TN | Nissan Stadium $&
Saturday, May 6 – Nashville, TN | Nissan Stadium $&
Sunday, May 7 – Nashville, TN | Nissan Stadium $&
Friday, May 12 – Philadelphia, PA | Lincoln Financial Field $&
Saturday, May 13 – Philadelphia, PA | Lincoln Financial Field $&
Sunday, May 14 – Philadelphia, PA | Lincoln Financial Field $&
Friday, May 19 – Foxborough, MA | Gillette Stadium $&
Saturday, May 20 – Foxborough, MA | Gillette Stadium $&
Sunday, May 21 – Foxborough, MA | Gillette Stadium $&
Friday, May 26 – E. Rutherford, NJ | MetLife Stadium $&
Saturday, May 27 – E. Rutherford, NJ | MetLife Stadium $+
Sunday, May 28 – E. Rutherford, NJ | MetLife Stadium $+
Friday, June 2 – Chicago, IL | Soldier Field #?
Saturday, June 3 – Chicago, IL | Soldier Field #?
Sunday, June 4 – Chicago, IL | Soldier Field #?
Friday, June 9 – Detroit, MI | Ford Field #?
Saturday, June 10 – Detroit, MI | Ford Field #?
Friday, June 16 – Pittsburgh, PA | Acrisure Stadium #?
Saturday, June 17 – Pittsburgh, PA | Acrisure Stadium #?
Friday, June 23 – Minneapolis, MN | U.S. Bank Stadium #?
Saturday, June 24 – Minneapolis, MN | U.S. Bank Stadium #?
Friday, June 30 – Cincinnati, OH | Paycor Stadium ^+
Saturday, July 1 – Cincinnati, OH | Paycor Stadium ^+
Friday, July 7 – Kansas City, MO | Arrowhead Stadium ^+
Saturday, July 8 – Kansas City, MO | Arrowhead Stadium ^+
Friday, July 14 – Denver, CO | Empower Field at Mile High ^+
Saturday, July 15 – Denver, CO | Empower Field at Mile High ^+
Saturday, July 22 – Seattle, WA | Lumen Field *+
Sunday, July 23 – Seattle, WA | Lumen Field *+
Friday, July 28 – Santa Clara, CA | Levi’s Stadium *+
Saturday, July 29 – Santa Clara, CA | Levi’s Stadium *+
Thursday, August 3 – Inglewood, CA | SoFi Stadium *?
Friday, August 04 – Inglewood, CA | SoFi Stadium *?
Saturday, August 5 – Inglewood, CA | SoFi Stadium *&
Tuesday, August 8 – Inglewood, CA | SoFi Stadium *&
Wednesday, August 9 – Inglewood, CA | SoFi Stadium *&

Last Updated on November 22, 2022 by Dave Clark

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