Taylor Swift- Amy Klobuchar

Senators who grilled Ticketmaster executives about Taylor Swift tickets want the Justice Department to continue looking into the company’s merger with Live Nation.

Senators Amy Klobuchar and Mike Lee are still upset with Ticketmaster and Live Nation.

Following a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that included dubious Taylor Swift references and tough questions about how Ticketmaster and Live Nation’s practices affect artists and the music industry, Klobuchar and Lee are urging the Department of Justice to continue investigating potential anticompetitive practices.

 

“For far too long, Live Nation and Ticketmaster have used their monopoly power to damage fans and artists alike,” the senators said in a new letter to Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter.

 

The letter and hearing follow an increasing interest in Ticketmaster and Live Nation’s 2010 merger. Following Swift’s Eras Tour’s tumultuous sale, the FTC and antitrust advocates discovered an odd partner – Swifties. Swift supporters, in particular, who were shut out of purchasing tickets after encountering what Ticketmaster later claimed were bot attacks, blamed the difficulty on Live Nation Entertainment’s alleged market concentration.

 

Live Nation previously asserted that it “takes its antitrust duties seriously and does not engage in actions that could justify antitrust litigation, let alone rulings requiring it to change core business operations.” The Department of Justice did not immediately respond to an inquiry from Insider.

 

“If we are to improve ticketing for fans and artists, we must all focus on the facts. We’ve provided more than 35 pages of information in the last two weeks alone to provide lawmakers with more context and transparency on the reality of the industry “Insider obtained in a statement from Live Nation. “We believe that authorities would benefit from asking more questions about the disruption created by scalpers and the industry’s resale-first approach. We remain dedicated to collaborating with lawmakers on improvements that would benefit fans and artists, such as those stated in the FAIR Ticketing Act.”

 

The senators emphasized that, like Swift, they had a question after their hearing on Ticketmaster and Live Nation. They had numerous, in fact, and would want some explanations.

 

They stated that they inquired as to how many shows were promoted by Live Nation and ticketed by Ticketmaster at the same time each year. The corporation’s response: They were “unable to determine” that in the time allotted to them, yet senators point out that the company did not request an extension.

 

According to the senators, the business also did not respond to queries about how many of the top 100 arenas Live Nation handles ticketing for, or how many venue contracts Ticketmaster lost to competitor Paciolan. Furthermore, the corporation did not answer to a question regarding whether it had engaged in multi-year ticketing contracts with venues.

 

Ticketmaster and Live Nation are currently subject to a consent decree, which is essentially a set of conditions imposed by the Department of Justice to allow the merger to take place. In 2019, the Department of Justice expanded and prolonged the consent decree for another five and a half years. The Department of Justice believes it violated the original consent decree by threatening to withhold concerts from venues that used a different ticketing service (Live Nation has stated that they “strongly disagree with the DOJ’s allegations in the filing and the conclusions they seek to draw from six isolated episodes among some 5,000 ticketing deals negotiated during the life of the consent decree.”)

 

However, Klobuchar and Lee questioned Live Nation if, once the consent decree expires, it would agree to third-party audits to ensure that the corporation is not threatening or openly retaliating against venues that use other ticketing platforms. Live Nation “refused to do so,” according to Klobuchar and Lee, and instead stated that it “does not need to be subject to a consent decree or any similar legal obligation to refrain from retaliating against a venue for using another company’s ticketing services, and from threatening to retaliate for such choice of another ticketing company.”

 

That isn’t enough for Klobuchar and Lee, who have encouraged the Justice Department to investigate lingering questions and take action if evidence of Ticketmaster avoiding competition is discovered.

 

“The senators’ comments equal to ‘believe us,'” they write. “We believe that is completely inadequate.”

 

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