Swifties, rejoice! Today (Jan. 24), at 10 a.m., the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to investigate Live Nation and the lack of competition in the live music industry.
Titled “That’s the Ticket: Promoting Competition and Protecting Consumers in Live Entertainment,” the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing comes months after reports of significant service failures and delays on Ticketmaster’s website in November that left Taylor Swift fans unable to purchase tickets to her Eras Tour. It will look at claims of anti-competitive behavior and examine the impact of the 2010 Ticketmaster and Live Nation merger. The hearing was announced by U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Mike Lee, chairwoman and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition, Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights, respectively, and will be held in front of the full Judiciary Committee with Chair Dick Durbin and incoming Ranking Member Lindsey Graham.
If you weren’t there for the great war that was the Eras Tour ticketing experience, here’s a brief recap of the debacle that brought the issue to the Senate: Ticketmaster’s website glitched half an hour before verified fan presale tickets were set to go on sale; fans waited in the queue for hours just to receive error messages; and Ticketmaster rescheduled the Capital One cardholder presale for the following day due to “historic demand” and full-on canceled the public ticket sale days later.
“The issues within America’s ticketing industry were made painfully obvious when Ticketmaster’s website failed hundreds of thousands of fans hoping to purchase tickets for Taylor Swift’s new tour, but these problems are not new. For too long, consumers have faced high fees, long waits, and website failures, and Ticketmaster’s dominant market position means the company faces inadequate pressure to innovate and improve,” said Klobuchar in a press release.(Opens in a new window) “At next week’s hearing, we will examine how consolidation in the live entertainment and ticketing industries harms customers and artists alike. Without competition to incentivize better services and fair prices, we all suffer the consequences.”
“American consumers deserve the benefit of competition in every market, from grocery chains to concert venues,” added Lee. “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.”
The witnesses at the hearing include many of the masterminds behind the multi-billion dollar live music industry — including President and Chief Financial Officer of Live Nation Joe Berchtold, Chief Executive Officer of SeatGeek Jack Groetzinger, and Chief Executive Officer and President of Jam Productions Jerry Mickelson. The committee will also be hearing from Sal Nuzzo, senior vice president at The James Madison Institute, and Kathleen Bradish, vice president for legal advocacy at the American Antitrust Institute.