Taylor Swift ticket snafu caused by Ticketmaster abusing its market power, Senate antitrust chair says

Taylor Swift ticket snafu caused by Ticketmaster abusing its market power, Senate antitrust chair says

New York
CNN Business

Senator Amy Klobuchar criticized Ticketmaster In an open letter to its CEO, Said that he has “serious concerns” about the operation of a following company Service failure Tuesday that Taylor Swift fans are angry.

In a letter to CEO Michael Rapinoe, Democrat from Minnesota and chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust and Consumer Rights, wrote that complaints from Swift fans about not being able to buy tickets for her upcoming tour, in addition to the fees, suggest that the company “continues to Abuse of its market position

“Ticketmaster’s power in the primary ticket market insulates it from the competitive pressures that typically pressure companies to innovate and improve their services. This can lead to the kind of dramatic service failures we’ve seen this week, where consumers pay the price,” Klobuchar wrote.

Ticketmaster and Live Nation, the nation’s largest concert promoter, merged nearly a decade ago. Klobuchar noted that the company promised to develop “an easy-access, one-stop platform” for ticket distribution at the time. On Thursday, the senator told Rapinoe that it “appears that your confidence was misplaced.”

“When Ticketmaster merged with Live Nation in 2010, it was subject to an antitrust consent decree that prohibited it from abusing its market position,” Klobuchar wrote. “Nevertheless, there are numerous complaints about your company’s compliance with that decree.”

The letter included a list of questions for Rapinoe to answer within the next week. Ticketmaster did not immediately respond to CNN Business’ request for comment.

On Tuesday, the company said there was “historically unprecedented demand with millions showing up” to purchase tickets for Swift’s tour and thanked fans for their “patience.”

Klobuchar is the latest high-profile politician to go public Criticize Ticketmaster For the ticketing debacle that left bad blood between Swift fans and the company.

“@ticketmaster’s excessive wait times and fees are completely unacceptable, as seen with today’s @taylorswift13 tickets, and are symptomatic of a larger problem. It’s no secret that Live Nation-Ticketmaster is an unchecked monopoly,” Rep. David Ciccline, currently chairman of the antitrust subcommittee, tweeted Tuesday.

“Daily reminder that Ticketmaster is a monopoly, its merger with LiveNation should never have been approved, and they need to be reined in,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.

Complaints about the company’s monopoly power go back a long way, long before Tuesday’s ticket issues, when the platform crashed or froze during presale purchases for Swift’s latest tour.

In 1994, when Taylor Swift was just four years old And while queues to buy tickets were in person or over the phone, not online, rock group Pearl Jam filed a complaint in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division that claims Ticketmaster “has a virtually absolute monopoly over the distribution of concert tickets.” It only tried to book its tour at venues that didn’t use Ticketmaster.

The Justice Department and many state attorneys general have made similar allegations over the years.

Despite these concerns, Ticketmaster continues to become more influential. Pearl Jam’s complaint was quietly dismissed. The Justice Department and states allowed the Live Nation Ticketmaster merger despite a 2010 court filing challenging the Live Nation Ticketmaster merger. In the filing, the Justice Department said Ticketmaster’s share of major concert venues exceeded 80%.

— CNN Business’ Chris Isidore contributed to this report.

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