February 1, 2023

Live Nation exec will face lawmakers about Taylor Swift concert tickets fiasco

4 min read

New York

Legislators are ready to grill top officials. The event ticketing industry left millions of fans behind on Tuesday after Ticketmaster failed to process orders for Taylor Swift’s upcoming tour. Not able to buy tickets? or even without their ticket after purchase.

Joe Berchtold, president and CFO of Ticketmaster parent company Live Nation Entertainment, is set to testify before a Senate committee on Tuesday, two months after the Swift ticketing fiasco drew public scrutiny of the industry. Jack Grotzinger, CEO of ticketing platform SeatGeek, is also scheduled to testify at the hearing.

Tickets for Swift’s new five-month Era Tour — which kicks off March 17 and will feature 52 concerts across the U.S. — went on sale on Ticketmaster in mid-November. Huge demand swamped ticketing sites, angering fans who couldn’t snag tickets. Users complained of Ticketmaster not loading, saying the platform did not allow them to access tickets, even if they had a pre-sale code for verified fans.

Unable to resolve the issues, Ticketmaster later closed Swift’s concert tickets to the general public, citing “abnormally high demands on the ticketing system and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand.” Sale cancelled.

As the legions of die-hard Swifties grew angry, Swift herself I weight upon failure. “It goes without saying that I am extremely protective of my fans,” Swift wrote on Instagram in November. It’s disturbing for me to watch.”

As a result, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing on Tuesday titled “This Ticket: Promoting Competition and Protecting Consumers in Live Entertainment” to examine the lack of competition in the ticketing industry.

“The problems in the US ticketing industry became painfully clear when Ticketmaster’s website failed millions of fans hoping to buy tickets for Taylor Swift’s new tour, but these problems are not new,” Senator Amy Klobuchar, who is on the committee, said. In a statement about the hearing. “We will examine how consolidation in the live entertainment and ticketing industries hurts consumers and artists alike. Without competition to encourage better service and fairer prices, we would all suffer the consequences. are

In addition to the executives, the committee said witnesses at the hearing will include Jerry Mickelson, CEO of Jam Productions, one of the largest producers of live entertainment, and singer-songwriter Clyde Lawrence.

Lawrence, who has composed music for motion pictures including the Disney+ holiday comedy “Noel,” wrote an opinion piece for The. The New York Times In December titled “Taylor Swift’s Live Nation Debacle Is Just the Beginning,” in which she allegedly slammed Live Nation. Monopoly and harmful to artists.

“Whether or not it meets the legal definition of a monopoly, Live Nation’s control over the live music ecosystem is staggering.” He wrote.

Criticism of Ticketmaster dominance Decades of historyBut the Swift ticketing incident has once again turned the issue into a dinner table debate in many households.

Concert promoter Live Nation and ticketing company Ticketmaster, two giants in the concert business, announced their merger in 2009. From the US Department of Justicethat it would create a near monopoly in the industry.

Department of Justice allowed The Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger went ahead despite a 2010 court case that raised objections to the merger. In the filing, the Justice Department said Ticketmaster’s share of major concert venues is more than 80 percent.

Ticketmaster disputed the market share estimate, saying it had as much as 30 percent of the concert market, according to Comments on NPR Recently by Berchtold.

While angry fans were left scrambling to get around via Swift tickets. Confused, their collective anger caught the attention of lawmakers.

Members of Congress used the defeat to criticize Ticketmaster’s control of the live music industry., That said, because Ticketmaster is so dominant, it has no reason to improve things for the millions of customers who have no other choice.

“Ticketmaster’s strength in the primary ticket market insulates it from the competitive pressures that normally force companies to innovate and improve their services,” Klobuchar, who chairs the antitrust subcommittee, said. Wrote in an open letter To the CEO of Ticketmaster in November. “This could result in the types of dramatic service failures we’ve seen this week, where customers end up paying the price.”

Senator Richard Blumenthal echoed Klobuchar’s concerns. He tweeted at the time that the tour was “a perfect example of how the Live Nation/Ticketmaster merger hurts consumers by creating a near monopoly.”

In December, lawmakers on the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent one. Letter LiveNation CEO Michael Rapinoe demanded a briefing on what went wrong and what steps the company is taking to fix the problems.

“The recent pre-sales ticketing process for Taylor Swift’s upcoming Eras tour — in which millions of fans faced delays, lockouts, and competition from aggressive scammers, scalpers and bots — involved potentially unfair and deceptive practices. raises concerns that consumers and event-goers face, the committee wrote in its letter.

The committee noted that it had previously raised concerns about the industry’s business practices and said it wanted to speak with Rapinoe about how the company processes tickets for concerts and major tours. It also seeks feedback on how Ticketmaster plans to improve in the future.

Brian A. Marks, a senior lecturer in economics and business analytics at the University of New Haven’s Pompeii College of Business, said he would like Swift. Appearance at the hearing

“This hearing seems to be focused on Swift and what happened with ticket sales. We also have to remember that Taylor Swift and her team had an agreement with Ticketmaster to sell concert tickets, ‘ said Marcus.

“Would Congress want to see this deal? To me, what happened with Swift concert tickets is not necessarily the result of Ticketmaster being the dominant player in the industry,” he said. Big artists like Swift, “are free to go somewhere else,” he said. “That point might be missed at tomorrow’s hearing.”

– CNN’s Frank Pallotta, Chris Isidore and David Goldman contributed to this story.

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