Congress to hold hearing after Ticketmaster chaos over Taylor Swift's tour

 A US Senate antitrust panel is set to hold a hearing after the chaotic sale of tickets to Taylor Swift’s Eras tour.

Users reported major service failures and delays after tickets went on sale on November 15, with many fans unable to secure tickets to the highly-anticipated tour.

Senators Amy Klobuchar and Mike Lee announced the hearing, which will be focused on the lack of competition in the industry, with a date and witnesses to be confirmed at a later date.

Taylor responded to the fiasco in a statement, saying: ‘Well. It goes without saying that I’m extremely protective of my fans. We’ve been doing this for decades together and over the years, I’ve brought so many elements of my career in house.

‘I’ve done this SPECIFICALLY to improve the quality of my fans’ experience by doing it myself with my team who care as much about my fans as I do.

‘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.

‘There are a multitude of reasons why people had such a hard time trying to get tickets and I’m trying to figure out how this situation can be improved moving forward.’

‘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,’ she continued.

Live Nation’s full statement

As we have stated many times in the past, Live Nation takes its responsibilities under the antitrust laws seriously and does not engage in behaviors that could justify antitrust litigation, let alone orders that would require it to alter fundamental business practices.

The concert promotion business is highly competitive, with artist management in control of selecting their promoting team. The demand for live entertainment continues to grow, and there are more promoters than ever working with artists to help them connect with fans through live shows. The Department of Justice itself recognized the competitive nature of the concert promotion business at the time of the Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger.  That dynamic has not changed. 

Ticketmaster has a significant share of the primary ticketing services market because of the large gap that exists between the quality of the Ticketmaster system and the next best primary ticketing system. The market is increasingly competitive nonetheless, with rivals making aggressive offers to venues.  That Ticketmaster continues to be the leader in such an environment is a testament to the platform and those who operate it, not to any anticompetitive business practices. 5 years ago tickets were paper, now you scan in with your phone, and can transfer tickets to your friend with one tap. We innovate and invest in our technology more than any other ticketing company, and we will continue to do so.

Secondary ticketing is extremely competitive, with Ticketmaster competing with StubHub, SeatGeek, Vivid and many others.  No serious argument can be made that Ticketmaster has the kind of market position in secondary ticketing that supports antitrust claims. 

For the past 12 years Live Nation has operated under a Consent Decree that among other things seeks to prevent anticompetitive leveraging of Live Nation promoted content to advantage Ticketmaster.  Pursuant to the Amended Decree voluntarily entered in 2020, Live Nation’s compliance is monitored by a former federal judge.  There never has been and is not now any evidence of systemic violations of the Consent Decree.  It remains against Live Nation policy to threaten venues that they won’t get Live Nation shows if they do not use Ticketmaster, and Live Nation does not re-route content as retaliation for a lost ticketing deal. 

Ticketmaster is also the most transparent and fan-friendly ticketing system in the United States.  Ticketmaster does not set or control ticket prices, strongly advocates for all-in pricing so that fans are not surprised by what tickets really cost, and is the undisputed market leader in ticket security and fighting bots.  Ticketmaster also does not embrace deceptive and questionable secondary ticketing practices prevalent on rival sites such as speculative ticketing.  

We are proud of the work we do across both concerts and ticketing, and will continue working to improve and support the live events industry.

‘It’s truly amazing that 2.4million people got tickets, but it really p***es me off that a lot of them feel like they went through several bear attacks to get them.

‘And to those who didn’t get tickets, all I can say is that my hope is to provide more opportunities for us to all get together and sing these songs.’

‘Thank you for wanting to be there,’ she concluded. ‘You have no idea how much that means.’

Live Nation responded to the situation with a lengthy statement, saying it takes ‘its responsibilities under the antitrust laws seriously and does not engage in behaviors that could justify antitrust litigation, let alone orders that would require it to alter fundamental business practices.’

Taylor sent us all into a spin when she announced her return to the stage at the beginning the month, revealing that her Eras tour would be hitting the road next March, in Arizona, before wrapping the US leg in LA in August.

The concerts will mark the first time that the Shake It Off star perform on the road since 2018.

It comes after she released her album Midnights, and made history by securing all top 10 spots on the Billboard Hot 100.

Ticketmaster pointed towards Live Nation’s previous statement when contacted by Metro.co.uk.

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