Senate antitrust committee announces hearing against Ticketmaster

Two senators have announced a hearing to look into the alleged monopoly critics say Ticketmaster has on the ticketing industry.

Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, and Senator Mike Lee, a Utah Republican, have taken the first steps to investigate whether there is a lack of competition in the ticketing industry. Both sit on the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights.

The hearing was announced following the disastrous rollout of the presale tickets for Taylor Swift's Eras Tour, where fans complained of hours-long waits, site crashes and exorbitant prices.

Klobuchar, who chairs the subcommittee, said in a statement, "Last week, the competition problem in ticketing markets was made painfully obvious when Ticketmaster's website failed hundreds of thousands of fans hoping to purchase concert tickets. 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."

"That’s why we will hold a hearing on how consolidation in the live entertainment and ticketing industry harms customers and artists alike. When there is no competition to incentivize better services and fair prices, we all suffer the consequences," her statement continued.

Senator Lee, who is a ranking member of the subcommittee, said, "American consumers deserve the benefit of competition in every market, from grocery chains to concert venues. I look forward to exercising our Subcommittee's oversight authority to ensure that anticompetitive mergers and exclusionary conduct are not crippling an entertainment industry already struggling to recover from pandemic lockdowns."

At the moment, a date for the hearing and potential witnesses have not yet been announced.

As previously reported, Ticketmaster blamed the unprecedented demand and "staggering number of bot attacks" for creating havoc during the presale. They have since canceled general ticket sales.

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