Taylor Swift: Live Nation exec to confront lawmakers over concert tickets fiasco

New York

Lawmakers grilled a top executive from Ticketmaster’s parent company after Taylor Swift’s inability to process orders for her upcoming tour left millions of fans stranded. Unable to purchase tickets Or without their ticket even after purchase.

Joe Berchtold, president and CFO of Ticketmaster parent company Live Nation Entertainment, testified before a Senate committee Tuesday, two months after the Swift Ticket fiasco prompted public scrutiny of the industry.

“As we said after Onsale, I reiterate today: We apologize to the fans,” Berchtold said. “We apologize to Ms Swift. We must do better and we will do better. ”

Amid “unprecedented demand for Taylor Swift tickets,” Ticketmaster “has been hit with three times the amount of bot traffic we’ve ever experienced,” he said. The bot activity “required to slow down and pause our sales. This led to a terrible consumer experience and we are very sorry.

Tickets for Swift’s new five-month Eras tour — which kicks off March 17 and will include 52 concerts at multiple venues across the U.S. — went on sale on Ticketmaster in mid-November. Strong demand has disrupted ticketing platforms, angering fans who were unable to snag tickets. Customers complained that Ticketmaster was not loaded, saying the platform did not allow them to access tickets despite having a pre-sale code for verified fans.

Unable to resolve the issues, Ticketmaster later canceled sales of Swift’s concert tickets to the general public, citing “abnormally high demand on ticket systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand”.

As anger grew among legions of hardcore Swifties, Swift herself Weight too In failure. “It goes without saying that I am very protective of my fans,” Swift wrote on Instagram in November. “It’s very difficult for me to trust an outside agency with these relationships and loyalties, and it pains me to see mistakes happen without any help.”

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As a result, the US Senate Judiciary Committee scheduled a hearing entitled “That’s the Ticket: Promoting Competition and Protecting Consumers in Live Entertainment” to examine the lack of competition in the ticketing industry.

Sen., a Democrat from Minnesota. In her opening remarks, Amy Klobuchar emphasized the importance of competition to sustaining the capitalist system. When criticizing the level of consolidation in the market, he used a lyric from Taylor Swift, saying that the country knows “all too well”.

“To have a strong capitalist system, you have to have competition,” he said. “You can’t have too much integration — unfortunately for this country, Taylor Swift, as an icon, I would say, we know ‘all too well’.”

Berchtold suggested that venues should enjoy a significant way to conduct their activities. He testified that Ticketmaster does not set ticket prices, nor does it set the number of tickets for sale, and that “in most cases, venues set the service and ticket fees,” not Ticketmaster.

In addition to executives, the panel said witnesses at the hearing include Jack Groetzinger, CEO of ticketing site SeatGeek; Jerry Mickelson, CEO of Jam Productions, one of the largest producers of live entertainment; and singer-songwriter Clyde Lawrence.

Groetzinger testified that as long as Live Nation remains a concert promoter and ticket provider for major U.S. venues, “the lack of competition and competition in the industry will continue.”

A review of Ticketmaster’s dominance A decade agoBut the Swift Ticket incident has once again turned the issue into a dinner table debate in many households.

Concert promoter Live Nation and ticketing company Ticketmaster, two giants in the concert business, announced their merger in 2009. At the time the deal raised concerns including From the US Department of JusticeThat would create a near monopoly in the industry.

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Department of Justice Allowed Although the Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger was filed in court in 2010, it raised objections to the merger. In the filing, the Justice Department said Ticketmaster’s stake in major concert venues exceeded 80%.

Ticketmaster disputes the market share estimate, saying it holds more than 30% of the concert market at most. Comments on NPR Recently Berchtold.

On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary’s top Democrats and Republicans weighed in on Ticketmaster’s economic dominance.

“These problems are symptoms of a larger problem,” said committee chairman Sen. Dick Turbin said, arguing that “one company is dominating” the live event ticketing industry that has developed from consolidating.

Durbin said the legal endorsement deal, which allowed Live Nation to terminate the deal with conditions, did not succeed in saving the competition.

The panel’s top Republican, Sen. Lindsey Graham acknowledged that “consolidating power in the hands of a few can create problems for many.”

“With this investigation, I believe we can create a better experience where consumers can buy tickets to the things you want to see without the hassle of a Taylor Swift ticketing process,” he said.

Outraged fans were desperate to get Swift tickets Confused, their collective anger caught the attention of lawmakers.

Members of Congress used the failure to criticize Ticketmaster’s control of the live music industry, Because Ticketmaster is so dominant, that’s no reason to make things better for the millions of customers who have no choice.

“Ticketmaster’s dominance in the primary ticketing market insulates it from competitive pressures, which typically push companies to innovate and improve their services,” said Globuchar, who chairs the antitrust subcommittee. wrote in an open letter to Ticketmaster’s CEO in November. “This could lead to the types of dramatic service failures we’ve seen this week, where consumers pay the price.”

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Sen. Richard Blumenthal echoed Klobuchar’s concerns. “This tour is a perfect example of how the Live Nation/Ticketmaster merger is harming consumers by creating a monopoly,” he tweeted at the time.

In December, lawmakers on the House Energy and Commerce Committee A Letter Live Nation is reaching out to CEO Michael Rapinoe for an explanation of what went wrong and what steps the company is taking to fix the issues.

“The recent pre-sale ticketing process for Taylor Swift’s upcoming Eras tour — which involved millions of fans experiencing delays, lockouts and competition with aggressive fraudsters, scalpers and bots — raises concerns about potential unfair and deceptive practices faced by consumers and event-goers,” the committee wrote in its letter.

The group noted it had previously raised concerns about the industry’s business practices and said it wanted to meet with Rabino to discuss how the company processes tickets for concerts and major tours. It also wants answers on how Ticketmaster plans to improve in the future.

Brian A. is a senior lecturer in the Department of Economics and Business Analytics at Pompea College of Business, University of New Haven. Marks said he wanted to build Swift. Appearance at trial.

“This investigation seems to focus on Swift and what happened with ticket sales. We also have to remember that Taylor Swift and her team made a deal with Ticketmaster to sell her concert tickets,” Marks said.

“Does Congress want to see that deal? “To me, what happened with Swift concert tickets wasn’t necessarily a result of Ticketmaster dominating the industry,” he said. He said that artists, and especially big ones like Swift, are “free to go elsewhere.” “This point may be missed in tomorrow’s hearing.”

— CNN’s Brian Fung, Frank Pallotta, Chris Isidore and David Goldman contributed to this story.

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