Ticketmaster Faces the Music at Senate Hearing After Taylor Swift Disaster
In the wake of Taylor Swift ticketing disaster leaving many fans empty-handed or paid the price, the Senate Judiciary Committee begins interrogated a series of witnesses on Tuesday to determine whether Live Nation, Ticketmaster’s parent company, has a monopoly over the concert industry and should be lifted.
“Take the failure of Taylor Swift as an example,” said Jerry Mickelson, an indie concert promoter and co-founder of jam productionsaid at the hearing when asked why it is so difficult for the average consumer to buy concert tickets.
“Fans must register through Verified Fans [service] Mickelson said. “Ticket sellers know the demand is huge, bigger than most other shows. When they are about to sell tickets, you can do it in two ways. Arrange tickets so that they are best available, which means you will sell more tickets because fans have no other choice or to choose a seat, which slows down the process.
Mickelson continued: “This process, when it’s slowed down, increases the amount of money Ticketmaster earns because they monetize the fees, and as fares go up because tickets are priced dynamically, Ticketmaster makes more money. “They have the benefit of slowing down the process and being picky about seats, thereby creating a fever that pushes ticket prices up, the higher the ticket price, the higher the fee. I think it was driven by Ticketmaster’s bottom line in the Taylor Swift debacle.”
Antitrust complaints against Ticketmaster have been going on long before the company canceled its main ticket sale for Swift last year, resulting in hundreds of thousands of fans being snubbed — Pearl Jam filed a complaint against the company in 2004. And Ticketmaster’s monopoly in the concert industry has faced scrutiny since its 2010 merger with Live Nation Entertainment, which eliminated Live Nation as its main competitor. But on Tuesday, Amy Klobuchar, the strongest pusher of antitrust legislation in the Senate, insisted that Ticketmaster’s dominance gives them the freedom to dominate the industry without ever being make its system better.
Joe Berchtold, president and chief financial officer of Live Nation Entertainment, began his address to the committee members by stating that his company’s system is “best in class,” but went on to state that the problems Swift fans had when they tried to buy tickets were largely due to bot attacks.
“Looking back, there are some things we could have done better,” says Berchtold. “And let me be clear, Ticketmaster takes responsibility for being the first line of defense against bots in our industry.”
Senator Marsha Blackburn expressed disappointment that Live Nation clearly didn’t handle bots more skillfully. “Unbelievable,” she speaks. “You should be able to get some good advice and figure this out.”
Other issues raised during the hearing related to the purchase of event tickets, such as huge hidden fees of up to 82% of the ticket price, as well as speculative ticket sales, wherein ticket agents that they don’t technically sell. there are still no secondary buyers with too high amount.
Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal later mocked what he saw as Ticketmaster’s attempt to blame the Eras Tour failure on Swift herself, who was not present at the hearing.
“I might suggest, respectfully, that Ticketmaster should look in the mirror and say, ‘I’m the problem, it’s me,’” Blumenthal said, cheekily throwing in a lyrical reference to Swift’s Latest chart-topping hit. “And the reason is quite simply that you are ultimately responsible for the skyrocketing prices, the high hidden fees, the sold-out shows, the bots and the speculators.”