US politicians have announced they will investigate Ticketmaster’s dominance after the company faced Taylor Swift’s wrath over handling sales for her much-anticipated tour.
Senators Amy Klobuchar and Mike Lee said a competition subcommittee would investigate the “lack of competition in the ticketing industry.”
High fees, problems with Ticketmaster’s website and cancellations show that it is “under no pressure to constantly innovate and improve,” Ms Klobuchar said.
Swift said last week it was “unbearable”. to see what people went through trying to get tickets to her upcoming shows in the US – her first tour since 2018.
Fans said they had to wait for hours and were repeatedly kicked off the website on Thursday, with Ticketmaster canceling Friday’s sale due to “extremely high demands” and “insufficient” tickets.
Those problems came a few days after the site crashed again amid high demand during a pre-sale.
Ticketmaster said more than 3.5 million people had signed up for the general sale and it planned to have 1.5 million people participate, while the rest would be placed on a waiting list.
However, it said “bots” – automated requests – and demand from those who hadn’t previously registered had flooded the website with 3.5 billion system requests – four times the previous peak.
“I’m not going to make excuses for anyone because we asked them multiple times if they could meet this kind of demand and we were confident they could,” Fast said on Instagram.
She said she was “p***** off” and was looking at how things could be improved.
Ticketmaster, which dominates the US ticketing industry, has for years frustrated fans and artists with hidden fees, skyrocketing fees, and limited ticket availability due to advance sales.
Ms Klobuchar wrote to the company’s boss last week suggesting that Ticketmaster and sister company LiveNation – which promotes events and runs venues – were abusing their position and isolated from the competition that is typical in other industries.
She and Senator Mike Lee of Utah raised the bar on Tuesday by announcing plans for a special hearing.
“If there is no competition to drive better services and fair prices, we all suffer the consequences,” said Ms. Klobuchar, who heads the Senate Subcommittee on Competition and Consumer Rights.
“U.S. consumers deserve the benefit of competition in every market, from supermarket chains to concert halls,” added Lee.
The date of the hearing and the witnesses have yet to be confirmed.