Senators grill Ticketmaster after Taylor Swift fiasco | news

Taylor Swift poses at the American Music Awards on November 20, 2022 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.


Senators grilled Ticketmaster on Tuesday, questioning whether the company’s dominance of the ticketing industry has led to its spectacular glitch last year during a Taylor Swift concert ticket sale.

US Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, recalled crashing into a friend’s car in high school while going to Led Zeppelin, The Cars and Aerosmith concerts. Nowadays, she said, ticket prices and fees have gotten so high that shows are too expensive for many fans. Klobuchar said ticket fees now average 27% of ticket costs and can reach as high as 75%.

Klobuchar said Ticketmaster’s market dominance means it faces little pressure to innovate and improve.

“To have a strong capitalist system, you have to have competition,” Klobuchar said in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

Ticketmaster is the world’s largest ticket seller, processing 500 million tickets each year in more than 30 countries. About 70% of tickets to major concert halls in the US are sold through Ticketmaster, according to data in a federal lawsuit filed by consumers last year.

In mid-November, Ticketmaster’s website crashed during a presale event for Swift’s upcoming stadium tour. The company said its website has been overwhelmed by both fans and bot attacks. Many people have lost tickets after waiting in an online queue for hours.

Ticketmaster urged fans to register for the presale, and more than 3.5 million people did, a record for the company. Ticketmaster eventually canceled a scheduled ticket sale to the general public due to insufficient inventory.

In 2010, Ticketmaster merged with Live Nation, a Beverly Hills, California-based entertainment company that produces live shows, festivals and concert tours.

Live Nation President and Chief Financial Officer Joe Berchtold apologized to fans and Swift on Tuesday, saying the company knew it had to do better.

But Berchtold insisted Ticketmaster doesn’t set ticket prices or service fees, or decide how many tickets go on sale. Service fees are set by venues, he said; Live Nation only owns about 5% of venues in the US, he said. He also said that Ticketmaster has lost — not gained — market share since merging with Live Nation.

Berchtold said the ticketing industry wants lawmakers to focus on the growing problem of ticket scalping and outlaw fraudulent practices such as B. Resellers who offer tickets that have not yet officially gone on sale. He also said the industry should be more transparent about pricing and fees.


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