Senators demand Ticketmaster-Live Nation break up after Taylor Swift chaos

Senators demand Ticketmaster-Live Nation break up after Taylor Swift chaos

A group of US senators have asked regulators to look into breaking up Live Nation following the recent sales debacle for Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour (Image: AFP)

A group of lawmakers has asked the Justice Department to look into breaking up Live Nation Entertainment after the recent failed concert sale tickets to Taylor Swift’s Eras arena tour.

Senators Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Ed Markey of Massachusetts published a letter addressed to Attorney General Merrick Garland asking his office to take action if an investigation of the company reveals “anti-competitive conduct.”

“An investigation alone does nothing for the stakeholders already harmed by Live Nation’s market dominance,” the senators said.

In 2009, event promoter Live Nation and ticket broker Ticketmaster announced a merger in a massive $2.5 billion deal. Although the controversial move was widely criticized by artists and fans, the Department of Justice approved the deal in 2010.

MIAMI, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 18: : In this photo illustration, a Ticketmaster website is displayed on a computer screen on November 18, 2022 in Miami, Florida.  The Justice Department is reportedly investigating the parent company of Ticketmaster for possible antitrust violations, following news that Taylor Swift concert ticket sales overwhelmed the Ticketmaster system. (Photo illustration by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Ticket prices have more than tripled in the past 20 years, a report found (Image: Getty Images)

More than a decade after the merger, Live Nation Entertainment now controls huge amounts of the live entertainment market, including 60% of the promotional offering for concerts and ’80 to 100% of the top 100 venues in the country,’ the senators said, citing a 2018 report published in New York Times.

Average ticket prices have also more than tripled over the past 20 years, the US Government Accountability Office found. On average, 27% of ticket prices go to unrelated fees.

The increased scrutiny of the company’s business practices comes after last week’s aborted sales of Taylor Swift’s Eras tour.

After millions of fans joined a pre-sale queue and broke industry records, Live Nation abruptly canceled Friday’s planned general sale due to “extraordinarily high demand” and “insufficient inventory.”

“The Eras Tour has been cancelled,” Ticketmaster tweeted.

The senators cited this debacle as an example of Live Nation’s “high prices and maze-like ticketing process,” which consumers have no choice but to use due to a lack of options.

The group of lawmakers asked the Justice Department to consider breaking up the deal after the current investigation. “This may be the only way to truly protect consumers, artists and venue operators and to restore competition in the ticketing market.”

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