Ticketmaster Collapse Over Taylor Swift Tickets Sparks Outrage


New York
CNN Business

The outrage of Taylor Swift fans by Ticketmaster service collapse On Tuesday he highlighted a common and recurring criticism of the ticketing company: it has virtually no competition. For many, buyers cannot avoid Ticketmaster if they want to attend an event.

Tuesday’s collapse brought lawmakers calls to dissolve Live Nation, the country’s largest concert promoter and the parent company of Ticketmaster, which they say has complete control over ticket sales for major events.

“@Ticketmaster’s excessive wait times and fees are completely unacceptable, as seen with today’s @taylorswift13 tickets, and are a symptom of a larger problem. It’s no secret that Live Nation-Ticketmaster is an unchecked monopoly.” tweeted Representative David Cicilline, currently Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust Subcommittee.

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

Even some who oppose calls for antitrust action against big tech companies criticized Ticketmaster on Wednesday. NetChoice, a trade group backed by some of the tech giants like Amazon

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Google

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and Facebook holding company Meta

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He said those calling for breaking up big tech companies should focus on breaking up Live Nation and Ticketmaster.

“Congress and the Federal Trade Commission have wasted their time and taxpayers’ money trying to radically change antitrust laws and filing lawsuits without merit. against companies like Meta, which operate in highly competitive environments. Instead, the government should use existing resources and laws to protect consumers and investigate Ticketmaster’s anti-competitive practices in the concert market,” the group said.

Ticketmaster did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But complaints about the company’s monopoly power date back long before the ticket problems on Tuesday, when the platform appeared to crash or freeze during pre-sale purchases for Swift’s latest tour.

In 1994, when Taylor Swift was just four years old and ticket lines were in person or by phone, not online, the rock group Pearl Jam filed a complaint with the Justice Department’s antitrust division alleging that Ticketmaster has a “virtually absolute monopoly on concert ticket distribution.” He tried to book his tour only at places that didn’t use Ticketmaster.

The Justice Department and many state attorneys general have filed similar complaints over the years.

Despite those concerns, Ticketmaster continued to become more dominant. Pearl Jam’s complaint was quietly dismissed. The Department of Justice and the states allowed the Live Nation Ticketmaster merger to take place despite a 2010 court filing in the case raising objections to the fusion. In the filing, the Justice Department said that Ticketmaster’s share among major concert venues exceeded 80%.

Ticketmaster disputes that market share estimate, estimating that it has at most a little more than 30% of the concert market, according to comments on NPR recently by Joe Berchtold, CFO of Live Nation Entertainment

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But the market share numbers don’t really matter for the thousands of shows and sporting events for which Ticketmaster has contracts to manage the initial sale of tickets, either for a taylor swift concert at an NFL stadium or a little-known band playing at an intimate club.

And fans who want to attend those events have little choice but to pay the substantial fees added to ticket prices by Ticketmaster.

Previous efforts to rein in Ticketmaster’s control of the ticket market have failed. Pearl Jam abandoned their effort in 1995. The Department of Justice and the states gave his approval of the Live Nation-Ticketmaster combination, but required some supervision. Now, the matter might not end there.

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