Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Mike Lee (R-UT), Chairwoman and Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights, announced that the planned hearing on the ticketing industry and competition within will be held on Tuesday, January 24 in Washington D.C. “That’s The Ticket: Promoting Competition and Protecting Consumers in Live Entertainment” will be held before the full Senate Judiciary Committee.
The hearing was announced late last year in the wake of widespread outrage regarding the Taylor Swift Eras Tour presale. During that November sales period, consumers experienced massive system issues, delays, and saw the unrestricted “general” sale cancelled entirely, despite held-back tickets remaining that have since begun being dripped out onto the market.
“The issues within America’s ticketing industry were made painfully obvious when Ticketmaster’s website failed hundreds of thousands of fans hoping to purchase tickets for Taylor Swift’s new tour, but these problems are not new. 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,” said Klobuchar in the release announcing the hearing. “At next week’s hearing, we will examine how consolidation in the live entertainment and ticketing industries harms customers and artists alike. Without 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.”
“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. Too often, consumers are the ones who pay the price for this market failure,” added Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), who chairs the full committee. “I look forward to this hearing to explore what led to this environment, as well as steps we can take to bring competition back to these industries in a way that puts fans and artists first.”
“I’m glad to see the committee will look into the Ticketmaster debacle,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), incoming Ranking Member of the full committee. “I look forward to hearing more about how we got here, and identifying solutions.”
Ticketmaster and its parent Live Nation have been on the defensive for months regarding the Taylor Swift mess, which seems to have galvanized public opinion regarding the company’s business practices and scope relative to the overall live event and ticketing ecosystem, particularly in North America. Beyond next week’s hearing, the failures of that sale have drawn widespread condemnation from lawmakers in both houses of Congress, drawn into public knowledge a Department of Justice anti-trust investigation, spurred talk of legislation being written to address issues of price and availability, and even inspired the head of the Federal Trade Commission to label the industry giants as being “too big to care.”
The hearing will take place on Tuesday, January 24 at 10 a.m. in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, with Sen. Durbin presiding. There will be live video available here. No specific schedule or indication of who will appear to testify have been announced as of Wednesday morning.