The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on Jan. 24 at 10 a.m. EST examining the ticketing industry and Ticketmaster’s handling of the Taylor Swift ticket sale, Senator Amy Klobuchar‘s (D-MN) office announced.
Titled “That’s The Ticket: Promoting Competition and Protecting Consumers in Live Entertainment,” the hearing will look at accusations of anti-competitive behavior in the ticketing space and examine the history of the 2010 Department of Justice consent decree governing the merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster.
The merger has long been criticized by members of both parties with Klobuchar recently identifying the Swift crash as an example of how “Ticketmaster’s power in the primary ticket market insulates it from the competitive pressures that typically push companies to innovate and improve their services.”
The Nov. 15 sale crash, which affected both Ticketmaster and its competitor SeakGeek, was the result of massive demand from Taylor Swift fans and an illegal bot attack, Ticketmaster wrote in a Nov. 15 blog post.
Klobuchar, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights, will be joined at the hearing by ranking member Mike Lee (R-UT) for the hearing before the full Senate Judiciary Committee with Chair Dick Durbin (D-IL) and incoming ranking member Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
“The issues within America’s ticketing industry were made painfully obvious when Ticketmaster’s website failed hundreds of thousands of fans hoping to purchase tickets for Taylor Swift’s new tour, but these problems are not new. For too long, consumers have faced high fees, long waits, and website failures, and Ticketmaster’s dominant market position means the company faces inadequate pressure to innovate and improve,” Klobuchar said in a statement. “At next week’s hearing, we will examine how consolidation in the live entertainment and ticketing industries harms customers and artists alike. Without competition to incentivize better services and fair prices, we all suffer the consequences.”
“American consumers deserve the benefit of competition in every market, from grocery chains to concert venues,” Lee added. “I look forward to exercising our subcommittee’s oversight authority to ensure that anticompetitive mergers and exclusionary conduct are not crippling an entertainment industry already struggling to recover from pandemic lockdowns.”
“It’s been more than a decade since Ticketmaster merged with Live Nation, and competition in the ticketing and live entertainment industries has only gotten worse. Too often, consumers are the ones who pay the price for this market failure,” said Durbin. “I look forward to this hearing to explore what led to this environment, as well as steps we can take to bring competition back to these industries in a way that puts fans and artists first.”
“I’m glad to see the committee will look into the Ticketmaster debacle,” said Graham. “I look forward to hearing more about how we got here, and identifying solutions.”
A witness list has not been released for the Jan. 24 hearing. A spokesperson for Ticketmaster did not comment when asked about the upcoming hearing.