Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced legislation Wednesday aimed at improving competition in the live entertainment ticketing market. The Unlock Ticketing Markets Act proposes new limits on the kind of exclusive venue ticketing contracts that many argue has fueled the overwhelming market share enjoyed by Live Nation Entertainment, which was the subject of a contentions Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in January.

“Right now, one company is leveraging its power to lock venues into exclusive contracts that last up to ten years, ensuring there is no room for potential competitors to get their foot in the door,” said Klobuchar in a press release announcing the legislation. “Without competition to incentivize better services and fair prices, we all suffer the consequences. The Unlock Ticketing Markets Act would help consumers, artists, and independent venue operators alike by making sure primary ticketing companies face pressure to innovate and improve.”

Sen. Klobuchar is the co-chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights with Sen. Mike Lee of Utah. The pair convened the January hearing in response to the increasing consumer anger at the current state of the ticketing industry, thrown into sharp contrast by the high profile failure of Ticketmaster’s sales process for the Taylor Swift Eras Tour in the fall of 2022. During that hearing, Live Nation Entertainment’s Joe Berchtold attempted to spin the consumer anger as being the fault of ticket resale and “bots” rather than the overwhelming market share of his corporation, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary presented by other witnesses.

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During the hearing, it was estimated that Live Nation Entertainment holds as high as a 70-80 percent market share. That dominance has been used by the company to “pressure venues to agree to ticketing contracts that last up to ten years, insulating it from competition,” according to the release. The proposed Unlock Ticketing Markets Act would empower the Federal Trade Commission to prevent the use of “excessively long multi-year exclusive contracts that lock out competitors, decrease incentives to innovate new services, and increase costs for fans.”

“Consumers deserve protection against the clear excesses and abuses of Ticketmaster repeatedly demonstrated in their own lives and documented in Congressional hearings. This legislation is a step toward basic fairness that everyone deserves – consumers, artists, venues, and others – against a sad and repugnant history of putting its profits above them. Free and fair markets depend on competition which is the least concertgoers, artists, and independent venues deserve,” said Blumenthal.

In a statement published by the Wall Street Journal, Live Nation said that Ticketmaster wins business by providing the best product available for venues, and that the venues themselves determine the length of contracts.

“We do not expect any of the proposed changes to have a material impact on our business as we historically add clients in competitive marketplaces,” it said. The company also published a defense of its business practices on Wednesday authored by company antitrust legislative czar Dan Wall, who continued to rely on the “scalpers and bots” defense in the piece.

This new legislation is the second major bill to be proposed at the federal level coming out of that hearing, joining the “Junk Fee Prevention Act” – also co-authored by Sen. Blumenthal – which targets hidden and excessive fees across multiple industries, including ticketing. That legislation also targets the widespread use of ticket holdbacks, requiring that ticket sellers disclose the actual number of tickets that are available at each stage of the sales process – empowering consumers to make a more informed decision about committing to buy tickets rather than falling prey to what critics call a sleight-of-hand tactic to imply low supply and stimulate higher prices during the early part of the sales process.

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