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Congress to hold hearing on Ticketmaster problems after Taylor Swift debacle

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2022-11-22T16:41:07Z

Singer Taylor Swift arrives to speak at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada September 9, 2022. REUTERS/Mark Blinch/File Photo

A U.S. Senate antitrust panel will hold a hearing on the lack of competition in the ticketing industry after Ticketmaster’s problems last week managing the sale of Taylor Swift tickets, Senator Amy Klobuchar, chair of the panel, said on Tuesday.

“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,” Klobuchar said. “That’s why we will hold a hearing on how consolidation in the live entertainment and ticketing industry harms customers and artists alike.”

Senators Klobuchar and Mike Lee, the top Republican on the committee, did not provide a date for the hearing or a list of witnesses.

Ticketmaster did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but has previously blamed presale problems for Swift’s Eras tour, her first tour in five years, on unprecedented demand and an effort to keep out bots run by ticket scalpers.

For her part, the pop superstar on Friday said it was “excruciating” for her to watch fans struggle to secure tickets and that she had been assured that Ticketmaster could handle large demand.

Klobuchar was one of three lawmakers who argued in a letter on Monday that Ticketmaster and owner Live Nation Entertainment, the events ticketing giant behind the recently botched sale of Taylor Swift concert tickets, should be broken up by the Department of Justice if any misconduct is found in an ongoing investigation.

The DOJ has proven in recent years to be much more willing to file antitrust lawsuits against giant companies – including the ongoing December 2020 lawsuit against Google – and fight mergers.

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