January 28, 2023

Save the Net Books

Blogazine on Books, Arts, and Music

US senators are investigating Ticketmaster’s dominance of concert ticket sales

US Senators Amy Klobuchar and Mike Lee will chair a new subcommittee examining the lack of competition in the ticket markets. Klobuchar stressed the need to question Ticketmaster’s dominance of the concert ticket market given last week’s chaotic sales of Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour. “Ticketmaster’s website disappointed hundreds of thousands of fans hoping to buy concert tickets,” Klobuchar said. “The high fees, website disruptions and cancellations experienced by customers show that Ticketmaster’s dominant market position means the company is not under pressure to constantly innovate and improve.”

Ticketmaster blamed the Eras Tour fiasco on unprecedented demand and an “overwhelming number of bot attacks” and eventually canceled a scheduled presale date for the remaining tickets. The company apologized to Swift, who wrote a pointed statement that read, in part, “It’s really difficult for me to confide in an outside entity these relationships and loyalties and it’s excruciating for me to just watch failures happen without recourse.” She added, “I won’t apologize to anyone because we asked them several times if they could handle that kind of demand and we were assured they could.”

Two days after the initial debacle, Klobuchar addressed the cause in a letter in which he linked Ticketmaster’s “dramatic service outages” to its “power in the primary ticket market.” Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, chairs the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust Law and Consumer Rights, of which Lee, a Utah Republican, is a senior member. The date of the hearing has not yet been set.