A bipartisan Senate Judiciary Subcommittee convened on Tuesday (January 24) for a hearing on Ticketmaster, another step in the United States government’s investigation of the company’s merger with Live Nation. Prompted by a server-crashing fiasco during a presale for Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour that led to the cancelation of the tour’s general sale and left millions of incensed Swifties empty handed, the subcommittee is proceeding concurrently and in collaboration with a Department of Justice investigation that predates the incident.
The panel, helmed by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Mike Lee (R-UT), heard testimony on Ticketmaster’s impact on the primary and secondary ticket sale markets in particular and the music industry at large. Other members of the subcommittee include Senators Josh Hawley (R-MO), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). Per Pitchfork, several of these lawmakers quoted Taylor Swift lyrics at various points during the proceedings. SeatGeek CEO Jack Groetzinger spoke about the challenges presented to other ticketing outlets by his competitor’s alleged monopoly. And Live Nation president/CFO Joe Berchtold apologized to Swift on Ticketmaster’s behalf but reasserted his earlier claim that bots — along with the unprecedented level of demand for Eras Tour tickets — were to blame for the crash.
Independently from both the Senate and DOJ investigations, Live Nation/Ticketmaster, faces lawsuits from two groups of Swift fans, accusing the corporation of fraud, price fixing, and antitrust violations.