The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing on the state of competition in the ticketing industry, where Ticketmaster is the dominant force but has come under intense scrutiny since it took over. sloppy selling tickets for Taylor Swift’s latest tour.
The panel will likely focus on whether Ticketmaster has such a dominant position in the market that it didn’t feel the need to spend money on the kind of technological innovations that could have handled the increase. of the Swift ticket application, a claim the company denies. . The sale, in November, had widespread problems and angered millions of fans.
Scrutiny, including from Washington, is nothing new for Ticketmaster, which in 2010 merged with Live Nation, the world’s largest concert company, to form a colossus without equal in the music industry. multi-billion dollar live. The company held more than 40,000 events globally and sold 485 million tickets in 2019, the last year unaffected by the pandemic for which it disclosed data. It owns or controls over 300 venues and hosts major festivals like Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo and Governors Ball.
The hearing, titled “This is the Ticket: Promoting Competition and Protecting Consumers in Live Entertainment,” was convened by Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota, who has criticized Live Nation in the past. Last year, long before Ms. Swift ticket sales – and also before other Ticketmaster related issues like a Bad Bunny concert in Mexico City where fans were valid tickets were refused – Ms. Klobuchar, as well as Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, urged the Department of Justice to investigate the anti-competitive behavior of Live Nation and Ticketmaster. They also complained about issues like high fees.
Live Nation operates under an agreement called a consent decree, which was required by the Department of Justice to approve the companies’ merger. In 2020, the department extended it within five years, and is said to be investigating the company again for breaching that agreement, which establishes rules for how Live Nation and Ticketmaster can conduct themselves in the marketplace.
Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said at the top of the hearing that the consent decree “does not appear to have been effective.”
Witnesses at today’s hearing will include a senior Live Nation executive as well as some of its ticketing and concert promotion competitors; antitrust and market competition experts; and a performer:
Joe Berchtold, President and CFO, Live Nation Entertainment
Jack Groetzinger, Managing Director, SeatGeek
Jerry Mickelson, General Manager, Jam Productions
Kathleen Bradish, Vice President of Legal Defense, American Antitrust Institute
Sal Nuzzo, Senior Vice President, James Madison Institute
Clyde Lawrence, performer, Lawrence