Senate committee grills the head of Ticketmaster after 'Bad Blood' from Taylor Swift ticket sales
A Senate hearing looking at Ticketmaster began Tuesday.
It follows the debacle over Taylor Swift tour ticket sales several months ago. Right afterward, Sen. Richard Blumenthal called for congressional hearings into Ticketmaster.
The hearing called "That's The Ticket: Promoting Competition and Protecting Consumers in Live Entertainment" put Ticketmaster and President/CFO Joe Berchtold in the hot seat.
Blumenthal and Sen. Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota say the company has become a monopoly since Ticketmaster's merger with Live Nation in 2010.
"Ticketmaster ought to look in the mirror and say, 'I'm the problem. It's me,'" said Blumenthal.
"They own many of the major venues, and for the venues that they don't own, they tend to lock in on three-, five-, seven-year agreements, which means that the competitors that are out there aren't even able to compete when it comes to the ticketing," said Klobuchar.
Berchtold told the committee today that the problems Swift fans had getting tickets highlights the need to make a change. Back in November, Ticketmaster canceled Swift tour ticket sales to the general public after a pre-sale crashed the company's website in minutes.
Millions of the singer's fans were irate and had money taken from their accounts. They'll be glad to know that Ticketmaster may not be able to "Shake It Off".
"We apologize to the fans. We apologize to Miss Swift. We need to do better, and we will do better," said Berchtold.
Competitors such as Seat Geek say Ticketmaster and Live Nation must be broken up to make sure there is robust competition. Some lawmakers agree.
"When there's competition, it does two things - both of which are very valuable to the average American. It increases quality and reduces price," said Sen. Mike Lee from Utah.
Swift herself was also instrumental in pushing for Tuesday's hearing. In an effort to protect her hardcore legions of Swifties, she wrote on social media in the fall, "It's really difficult for me to trust an outside entity with these relationships and loyalties."