A US Senate panel has issued a subpoena to Live Nation and Ticketmaster for information regarding ticket pricing and fees. The subpoena comes after months of investigation into the company’s practices in the wake of controversies surrounding ticket sales for Taylor Swift and Bruce Springsteen concert tours.
The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, chaired by Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, is seeking records related to Live Nation and its ticketing division Ticketmaster’s “failure to combat artificially inflated demand fueled by bots in multiple, high-profile incidents, which resulted in consumers being charged exorbitant ticket prices.”
Blumenthal, in a statement on X (formerly Twitter) on Tuesday (November 21), said: “Live Nation has egregiously stonewalled my Subcommittee’s inquiry into its abusive consumer practices — making the subpoena necessary.”
“This subpoena demands that the company promptly comply with our request for documents essential to understand its business practices.
The subcommittee is also seeking records related to the company’s pricing and fees, resale practices, and relationship with artists and venues, CNBC reported, citing a letter to Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino.
“the American public deserves to know how Ticketmaster’s unfair practices may be enabled by its misuse of monopoly power.”
Richard Blumenthal, US Senator
“American consumers deserve fair ticket prices, without hidden fees or predatory charges. And the American public deserves to know how Ticketmaster’s unfair practices may be enabled by its misuse of monopoly power,” Blumenthal said on X.
In response, a Live Nation spokesperson spokesperson told the news outlet: “Live Nation has voluntarily worked with the Subcommittee from the start, providing extensive information and holding several meetings with staff.”
“In order to provide additional information requested about artist and client compensation and other similarly sensitive matters, we’ve asked for standard confidentiality measures,” the company spokesperson said.
“Thus far the Subcommittee has refused to provide such assurances, but if and when those protections are in place we will provide additional information on these issues.”
“In order to provide additional information requested about artist and client compensation and other similarly sensitive matters, we’ve asked for standard confidentiality measures. Thus far the Subcommittee has refused to provide such assurances.”
The subpoena is the latest development in the Senate’s scrutiny of Live Nation and Ticketmaster, which comes in the wake of a number of controversies over ticketing and tickets prices. Many Bruce Springsteen fans were outraged last year when some tickets for his 2023 tour went for as much as USD $5,000.
Some Taylor Swift fans criticized Ticketmaster after its ticketing system crashed when tickets went on sale for the pop artist’s Eras tour in November, 2022.
The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing about the two companies in January, exploring whether the merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster harmed consumers by stifling competition.
Live Nation’s Rapino has denied that Ticketmaster is a monopoly, arguing that if it were, it would have larger profit margins.
“You wouldn’t find a monopoly in history that has a 10%, 11% margin,” Rapino said on an episode of the Bob Lefsetz podcast earlier this year. “Monopoly means you have enough pricing power to have a very high margin return. So… [this] is a low-margin business at the core.”
The subpoena is a major development for consumers who have long complained about high ticket prices and fees. It is also a sign that the Senate is taking seriously the claim that Live Nation and Ticketmaster wield monopoly power.
Back in May, a House bill called the ‘Boss and Swift Act’ was proposed in the US Congress to bring transparency and regulation to what its authors, US Congressmen Bill Pascrell, Jr. and Frank Pallone, Jr., describe as the “badly corrupted” live events ticket market.
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