European Politicians Call For Investigation Of Ticketmaster
IndustryLegalMusicmusic festivalsWorld March 2, 2023 Itir Yildiz 0
Netherland’s annual music festival Lowlands’ banning the resale of its tickets through ticketing platforms other than Ticketmaster has presented the Live Nation-owned ticketing giant with a problem. Parliamentary parties SP, GroenLinks, and PvdD, along with multiple economists, ask the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) to investigate Ticketmaster for unfair competition, according to a report by Dutch media outlet, AD.
As a popular festival in the Netherlands, Lowlands announced “sold out” within 15 minutes on the day tickets went on sale. Taking place from August 18 to 20 with Billie Eilish and Florence + The Machine as headliners, the festival banned the resale of its tickets on other channels like Ticketswap to protect the market and reliability of the ticket, Lowlands director Eric van Eerdenburg said.
NL Times reported Eerdenburg’s accounts in a piece titled “Ticketmaster under fire for reselling Lowlands tickets at even higher prices” in early February. According to him, a platform like Ticketswap “may have a good reputation, but you don’t have 100% guarantee that you can enter with a ticket bought there.” Limiting resales to one platform – Ticketmaster – is “the least bad option,” he said.
It was Ticketmaster’s excluding competitors like Ticketswap and allowing resellers to sell Lowlands tickets for up to 20% more than the original price that led the call for an investigation in the Dutch parliament. The platform also charged service fees twice, which could amount to over €40 ($43) per Lowlands ticket, according to the NL Times. As a result, Lowlands tickets, which originally cost €300 each, were sold on Ticketmaster for €400.
“It seems that Ticketmaster is abusing a monopoly position in the ticket sales market by excluding competitors like Ticketswap and charging extortionate prices,” Timo Klein, an expert in competition economics affiliated with Utrecht University, said to the newspaper. “By closing the second-hand market to competitors, Ticketmaster is free to ask what they want. I am increasingly convinced that Ticketswap can make this a hard case at the ACM.”
A spokesperson for the ACM would not tell AD whether or not it launched an investigation into Ticketmaster. “We know this is going on. We are not deaf or blind. But we never announce an investigation in advance. We want to prevent companies from destroying evidence.”
The spokesperson added that having a dominant position is not prohibited in the Netherlands. “But appropriating monopoly power through distortion of competition is.”
Last Updated on March 2, 2023 by Dave Clark
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