LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Ticketmaster faced fresh questions from a Democratic U.S. senator about her sales practices on Thursday, two days after fans of Taylor Swift complained about the site being out of order and her waiting too long to buy tickets for her next US tour.
In the letter to Ticketmaster Live Nation Entertainment Inc.’s parent, (LYV.N)Senator Amy Klobuchar expressed her “deep concern about the state of competition in the ticketing industry and its harmful effect on consumers.”
“Ticketmaster’s strength in the core ticket market insulates it from the competitive pressures that typically drive companies to innovate and improve their services,” added Klobuchar, who chairs one of the Senate subcommittees on antitrust issues. “That could lead to the kinds of dramatic failures of service that we’ve seen this week, where it’s the consumers who pay the price.”
On Tuesday, Swift fans swarmed Ticketmaster and faced long wait times, with many unable to purchase tickets. Ticketmaster said the tour generated unprecedented demand and worked quickly to fix the issues.
In her letter, Klobuchar asked Live Nation CEO Michael Rapinoe to answer a handful of questions, including how much the company spent upgrading technology to handle the surge in demand, and what percentage of high-profile tour tickets were booked for pre-sales. .
Ticketmaster did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Klobuchar’s letter.
Live Nation and Ticketmaster merged in a 2010 deal approved by the Department of Justice. The government can challenge a full merger but rarely does. In her letter, Klobuchar said she was skeptical of collecting at the time.
Ticketmaster has irked artists and fans for decades. In the mid-1990s, grunge band Pearl Jam decided to tour without using Ticketmaster but found it too impractical and returned to the service after 14 months.
Reporting by Lisa Richwin. Editing by Jerry Doyle
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