US Senators Amy Klobuchar and Mike Lee, Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust and Consumers Rights, have called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to continue examining Live Nation and Ticketmaster’s 'anticompetitive conduct'.
Following the recent hearing, in which Live Nation Entertainment president and chief financial officer Joe Berchtold received sharp criticism from all angles surrounding Live Nation and subsidiary Ticketmaster, the Subcommittee sent evidence to the DOJ and wrote to Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division, Jonathan Kanter.
The letter read: “We have long been concerned about the state of competition in America’s ticketing industry, especially with the power and reach of Live Nation and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Ticketmaster…For too long, Live Nation and Ticketmaster have wielded monopoly power anticompetitively, harming fans and artists alike.
“We recently held a bipartisan hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee at which the President of Live Nation testified under oath, as did other industry participants, including an artist, a secondary market ticketing company, a promoter, and industry experts…As an initial matter, other than Live Nation’s executive, every witness at our hearing testified that Live Nation is harming America’s music industry.”
The hearing was organised following a situation which saw Ticketmaster forced into cancelling the general on-sale for Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour in November last year, after more than two million tickets were snapped up during pre-sales leaving “insufficient inventory” for the general sales.
Fans faced lengthy waiting times to purchase pre-sale tickets for the singer’s 52-date US tour. Ticketmaster had said that it faced an unprecedented number of system requests and bot attacks during the pre-sales.
The letter added: “We asked Live Nation a number of questions about competition both at the hearing and afterwards, but it has largely failed to answer them. Live Nation’s responses amount to ‘trust us’. We believe that is wholly insufficient. We thank you for your prompt attention to these matters and encourage the Antitrust Division to take action if it finds that Ticketmaster has walled itself off from competitive pressure at the expense of the industry and fans.”