(QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Senators on both sides of the aisle are accusing Ticketmaster and its parent company of being a monopoly.
“Ticketmaster ought to look in the mirror and say I’m the problem, it’s me,” said Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal.
U.S. senators quoted Taylor Swift lyrics while calling out the nation’s leading ticket sales and distribution company during a Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday.
Lawmakers grilled a top executive of Ticketmaster’s parent company, Live Nation Entertainment, for mishandling ticket sales for Swift’s upcoming Eras tour.
In November, thousands of Swift fans were furious over the long wait time and system crashes. Many were unable to purchase tickets.
“We will determine today what happened, how did this system fail so spectacularly, and what we can do in the future,” South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said.
According to Live Nation Entertainment, the issue was caused by internet bots that ultimately forced the company to close off sales to the public.
“This is what led to a terrible consumer experience. Which we deeply regret. We apologize to the fans. We apologize to Ms. Swift,” Live Nation Entertainment Chief Executive Officer Joe Berchtold said.
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At one point, Ticketmaster and Live Nation were competitors. The companies merged in 2010, creating what a group of lawmakers is calling a monopoly.
“It’s just not true that it is a monopoly. There are lots of other opportunities to use other services,” President and CEO of Ark Group Noah Lazes said.
Queen City News sat down with Lazes during the midst of the controversy. He says while Ticketmaster is only sometimes the go-to ticker seller, there is a reason why Taylor Swift, independent venues across the country, and the NFL use their services.
“The reason they do it is that Ticketmaster has a great product, and they are very good at what they do,” Lazes said. “If the NFL thought that somebody else was better, they would use them, or they would do it themselves if they thought they could create their ticketing service.”
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In the hearing, lawmakers discussed several possible solutions to improving the customer experience, none of which have been set in stone.
“I hope we can make a better experience for the consumer by being able to buy tickets to things that you want to see without such a debacle,” Sen. Graham said.