The Ticketmaster fiasco over Taylor Swift concert tickets’ sale has now reached the US senate. An antitrust panel will reportedly now go ahead with a hearing on the lack of competition in the country’s ticketing industry following the controversy that left a bitter taste for several of Swift’s fans wanting to buy tickets to her concert.
Ticketmaster’s parent company, Live Nation, has blamed presale problems for Swift’s Eras tour – the pop superstar’s first US tour in five years – on “unprecedented demand” and an effort to keep out bots run by ticket scalpers.
Last week, several registered fans struggled with glitches for hours to get tickets in the presale, and tickets quickly began appearing for resale for as much as US$22,700 (£19,100, A$33,500). The confusion eventually led to Ticketmaster cancelling sales to the general public. It later claimed the demand for Swift tickets “could have filled 900 stadiums”.
Days later, Swift stated that it was “excruciating” for her to watch fans struggling to secure tickets. She added that Ticketmaster had assured her it would be able to handle the demand.
The chaos attracted the attention of several US politicians and many voiced their concern about how Ticketmaster has over the years become the dominant platform for ticketing in the US. The company merged with Live Nation in 2010 and since then has enjoyed a monopoly in the market, something that congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez feels should not have been approved in the first place.
“Daily reminder that Ticketmaster is a monopoly, its merger with Live Nation should never have been approved, and they need to be reined in,” she tweeted. “Break them up.”
Tennessee’s attorney general, Jonathan Skrmetti, has said he will launch a consumer protection investigation into the company after his office was bombarded with complaints from Swift fans.
Senator Amy Klobuchar will chair the panel that will also have senator Mike Lee, the top Republican, on the committee.
“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,” Klobuchar said. “We will hold a hearing on how consolidation in the live entertainment and ticketing industry harms customers and artists alike.”