Taylor Swift Tour Sale Chaos Prompts U.S. Senate Hearing About Ticketmaster
Congress is officially holding a hearing regarding the practices of live music juggernaut Ticketmaster after backlash stemming from Taylor Swift's The Eras Tour pre-sale.
The news comes after the New York Times reported Nov. 18 that the Justice Department was opening an antitrust investigation against Live Nation Entertainment, the owner of Ticketmaster.
Now, the issue will be heard in the U.S. Senate, according to Variety.
Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Mike Lee (R-UT) announced they will be addressing Ticketmaster's lack of competition in the music industry.
"Last week, the competition problem in ticketing markets was made painfully obvious when Ticketmaster’s website failed hundreds of thousands of fans hoping to purchase concert tickets. The high fees, site disruptions and cancellations that customers experienced shows how Ticketmaster’s dominant market position means the company does not face any pressure to continually innovate and improve," Klobuchar said in a statement.
Klobuchar added they will specifically discuss how "consolidation in the live entertainment and ticketing industry harms customers and artists alike."
"I look forward to exercising our Subcommittee’s oversight authority to ensure that anti-competitive mergers and exclusionary conduct are not crippling an entertainment industry already struggling to recover from pandemic lockdowns," Lee said.
The hearing date has not yet been announced.
During the Nov. 15 Verified Fan pre-sale for Swift's The Eras Tour, an overwhelming number of Swift fans were unable to get tickets. Many expressed their frustration over Ticketmaster's failed Verified Fan code system, ticket scalpers immediately reselling tickets for thousands of dollars and hours-long virtual wait times with no result.
Tickets for the tour "sold out" even during the pre-sale, leading Ticketmaster to cancel the general public on-sale altogether.
"Due to extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand, tomorrow's public on-sale for Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour has been cancelled," the company tweeted.
U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also chimed in on the issue, tweeting, "Daily reminder that Ticketmaster is a monopoly, its merger with LiveNation should never have been approved, and they need to be reigned in. Break them up."
Days after the backlash, Swift posted a note to her social media that said she was "pissed off."
Swift also claimed that she and her team asked Ticketmaster "multiple times if they could handle this kind of demand and we were assured they could."
The incident served as a breaking point for many fans, who have faced Ticketmaster's increasingly unfair systems and prices for years, with the problems only worsening in recent years.
In December 2021, NPR reported that Olivia Rodrigo fans faced some of the same issues with Ticketmaster and the Verified Fan pre-sale. Similarly, Harry Styles' wildly popular Love On Tour shows faced lightning-fast ticket sales and sky-high resale prices.