Ticketmaster set to face Senate Judiciary Committee following Taylor Swift debacle

Ticketmaster is set to face the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday amid accusations that the ticketing giant operates as a monopoly — an issue that has “been going on for years," but recently got renewed attention in the wake of the Taylor Swift ticket debacle, Variety deputy music editor Jem Aswad told ABC News Live.

Ticketmaster’s website crashed Nov. 15, during the first day of presale for Swift’s upcoming stadium tour. Antitrust Committee chair Sen. Amy Klobuchar alluded to the meltdown a week later in a statement announcing a hearing on the “lack of competition in the ticketing industry.”

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“The high fees, site disruptions and cancellations that customers experienced shows how Ticketmaster’s dominant market position means the company does not face any pressure to continually innovate and improve,” Klobuchar said.

“When there is no competition to incentivize better services and fair prices, we all suffer the consequences,” the senator added.

Klobuchar, a Democrat, has a “long history of antitrust mobilization,” Aswad said.

PHOTO: Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota and chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights, speaks during a hearing in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 29, 2022. (Nathan Howard/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota and chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights, speaks during a hearing in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 29, 2022. (Nathan Howard/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The committee's witnesses include Joe Berchtold, president and CFO of Ticketmaster's parent company, Live Nation Entertainment, and Jack Groetzinger, CEO of Seat Geek, one of Ticketmaster's biggest competitors.

It won’t be the first time Ticketmaster has been in the hot seat. In 1994, the company was called in front of a congressional committee amid accusations they were operating as a monopoly — a claim they denied.

“Pearl Jam tried to do a tour without Ticketmaster, couldn’t, gave up,” Aswad said.

Since then, the company has only tightened its grip on the industry, merging with Live Nation in 2010 to become Live Nation Entertainment. Ticketmaster currently controls more than 70% of the market for ticketing and live events, according to the Yale School of Management.

MORE: Taylor Swift ticket debacle renews calls to split up Ticketmaster and Live Nation

Live Nation defended itself in a Nov. 19 statement, saying: “Live Nation takes its responsibilities under the antitrust laws seriously and does not engage in behaviors … that would require it to alter fundamental business practices.”

The company also said it “has a significant share of the primary ticketing services market because of the large gap that exists between the quality of the Ticketmaster system and the next best primary ticketing system. … That Ticketmaster continues to be the leader in such an environment is a testament to the platform and those who operate it, not to any anticompetitive business practices.”

Ticketmaster has pointed to the level of demand for Swift’s “The Eras Tour” as a major factor in the crash, claiming that the company's website saw more than 3.5 billion requests, which overwhelmed their system.

Many Swift fans were left frustrated and disappointed after the meltdown, and the pop star addressed the controversy soon after.

“It's really difficult for me to trust an outside entity with these relationships and loyalties, and excruciating for me to just watch mistakes happen with no recourse,” Swift said in a statement.

Ahead of the upcoming hearing, Aswad says he’s not optimistic there will be any significant changes in the near future.

“There's no one who even comes close to Ticketmaster strength, its reach, its muscle, its ability to sell the volume of tickets that it has to. You're talking about millions and millions and millions of tickets, and nobody else can do that right now. And it would be years before anyone could,” Aswad said.

Ticketmaster set to face Senate Judiciary Committee following Taylor Swift debacle originally appeared on abcnews.go.com