Live Nation & Ticketmaster Under Scrutiny Once Again As The U.S. Senate Demands Answers

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In a move that could have far-reaching implications for the live entertainment industry, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI) has issued a subpoena to Live Nation Entertainment and its subsidiary Ticketmaster, demanding documents related to ticket pricing, fees, and resale practices. The subpoena comes after months of frustration on the part of the subcommittee, and according to CNBC, the subcommittee’s chair, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, said that “Live Nation has egregiously stonewalled my Subcommittee’s inquiry into its abusive consumer practices — making the subpoena necessary.”

The PSI’s probe was initially launched in March following widespread criticism of Ticketmaster’s handling of ticket sales for concerts by Taylor Swift and Bruce Springsteen. In both cases, fans were met with exorbitant fees and technical glitches that made it nearly impossible to purchase tickets. These incidents, along with Ticketmaster’s dominant position in the live entertainment market, have raised concerns about the company’s use of monopoly power to gouge consumers.

“Despite nearly eight months and extensive efforts to obtain voluntary compliance, Live Nation/Ticketmaster has failed to fully comply with PSI’s requests, including refusing to produce certain documents critical to the Subcommittee’s inquiry. Furthermore, the Subcommittee has identified additional categories of documents necessary to complete its inquiry. As a result, the enclosed subpoena also seeks

records related to Live Nation/Ticketmaster’s failure to combat artificially inflated demand fueled by bots in multiple, high-profile incidents, which resulted in consumers being charged exorbitant ticket prices.” reads a section of the document.

The subpoena seeks a wide range of documents, including internal communications, financial data, and records related to ticket pricing strategies, resale practices, and interactions with artists and venues. This thorough examination aims to shed light on the company’s pricing mechanisms and uncover any potential wrongdoing that may have contributed to the surge in ticket prices.

A Live Nation spokesperson responded to CNBC, saying: “Live Nation has voluntarily worked with the Subcommittee from the start, providing extensive information and holding several meetings with staff.

“In order to provide additional information requested about artist and client compensation and other similarly sensitive matters, we’ve asked for standard confidentiality measures. Thus far the Subcommittee has refused to provide such assurances, but if and when those protections are in place we will provide additional information on these issues.”

At the heart of the investigation lies the accusation that Live Nation and Ticketmaster have abused their dominant market position to inflate ticket prices and impose excessive fees, leaving consumers frustrated and powerless. The company’s merger over a decade ago has resulted in an unchallenged monopoly, allowing it to dictate the rules of the game and extract exorbitant profits from avid fans.

The investigation into Ticketmaster is just the latest in a growing number of scrutiny of the company. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on Ticketmaster’s market power earlier this year. Earlier this year Ticketmaster won a lawsuit filed against them by consumers thanks to their Terms And Conditions.

If the PSI’s investigation finds that Ticketmaster has engaged in anticompetitive behavior, the company could face significant legal and regulatory penalties. It is also possible that the investigation could lead to calls for regulatory reforms, such as stricter antitrust laws or the breakup of Ticketmaster’s monopoly.

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