U.S. Senators to Investigate Ticketmaster’s Dominance Over Concert Ticket Sales

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U.S. Senators to Investigate Ticketmaster’s Dominance Over Concert Ticket Sales

Amy Klobuchar says the lack of competitors removes pressure on Ticketmaster to “innovate and improve”

Taylor Swift in concert in Paris

Taylor Swift, September 2019 (Dave Hogan/ABA/Getty Images)

U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Mike Lee will lead a new subcommittee investigating the lack of competition in ticketing markets. Klobuchar stressed the need to scrutinize Ticketmaster’s dominance over the concert ticket market in light of chaotic Taylor Swift Eras Tour sales last week. “Ticketmaster’s website failed hundreds of thousands of fans hoping to purchase concert tickets,” Klobuchar said. “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.”

Ticketmaster blamed unprecedented demand and a “staggering number of bot attacks” for the Eras Tour fiasco, ultimately canceling a scheduled on-sale date for the remaining tickets. The company apologized to Swift, who had written a pointed statement that read, in part, “It’s really difficult for me to trust an outside entity with these relationships and loyalties, and excruciating for me to just watch mistakes happen with no recourse.” She added, “I’m not going to make excuses for anyone because we asked them, multiple times, if they could handle this kind of demand and we were assured they could.”

Two days after the initial debacle, Klobuchar took up the cause in a letter linking Ticketmaster’s “dramatic service failures” to its “power in the primary ticket market.” Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, chairs the Senate judiciary subcommittee on competition policy, antitrust, and consumer rights, of which Lee, a Utah Republican, is a ranking member. The hearing date has not yet been set.

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