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Senators to grill Ticketmaster after Taylor Swift fiasco

The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing Tuesday to examine Ticketmaster’s outsized role in the ticketing industry in the wake of last year’s Taylor Swift concert debacle. In a statement last week, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., who leads antitrust investigations for the committee, said the hearing would “examine how consolidation in the live entertainment and ticketing industries harms customers and artists alike.” The Associated Press has the story:

Senators to grill Ticketmaster after Taylor Swift fiasco

Newslooks- (AP)

Senators are expected to grill Ticketmaster Tuesday, questioning whether the company’s dominance in the ticketing industry led to its spectacular breakdown last year during a sale of Taylor Swift concert tickets.

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, said the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing will focus on consolidation in the live entertainment and ticketing industries and how it harms customers.

“For too long, consumers have faced high fees, long waits and website failures, and Ticketmaster’s dominant market position means the company faces inadequate pressure to innovate and improve,” Klobuchar said in a statement ahead of the hearing.

FILE – Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., speaks at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on domestic terrorism, June 7, 2022, on Capitol Hill in Washington. The central idea behind House and Senate bills to reform an arcane federal election law is simple: Congress should not decide presidential elections.  The bills are a direct response to the Jan. 6 insurrection and former President Trump’s efforts in the weeks beforehand to find a way around the Electoral Count Act, an 1800s-era law that governs how states and Congress certify electors and declare presidential election winners, along with the U.S. Constitution. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

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

In 2010, Ticketmaster merged with Live Nation, a Beverly Hills, California-based entertainment company that produces live shows, festivals and concert tours. Live Nation’s President and Chief Financial Officer Joe Berchtold is among those scheduled to testify Tuesday.

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

Ticketmaster required fans to register for the presale, and more than 3.5 million people did. The company said it was the largest registration in history.

Ticketmaster eventually canceled a planned ticket sales to the general public because it didn’t have enough inventory.

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