Ticketmaster before the US Senate |  review of a fiasco

Ticketmaster before the US Senate | review of a fiasco

US senators held a questioning hearing of Ticketmaster executives in Washington on Tuesday to see if the company’s dominance of the events industry led to the fiasco in ticket sales for Taylor Swift’s upcoming tour.



The tour fiasco ages

To understand the origin of this saga, we have to go back to last November: after the launch of its 10me album, midnightTaylor Swift announces her return to the stage with her tour ages. Tickets are scheduled to go on sale on November 18, with a pre-sale on November 15. On November 17, a dramatic turn of events: Ticketmaster announces the cancellation of the official sale to the general public, justified by “insufficient inventory of remaining tickets.” Disgruntled fans complain of not being able to get tickets after endless hours of waiting, errors and glitches as Ticketmaster says it was stormed by a record number of more than 3.5 million people who reportedly registered on the platform and attacks of robots The pop star joins the chorus of critics, without naming Ticketmaster. Political reactions were not long in coming either, even announcing several US prosecutors that they would investigate the company for “alleged deceptive or unfair trade practices.” US Senator Amy Klobuchar then wrote an open letter to Ticketmaster Chairman and CEO Michael Rapino asking him to answer questions about the company’s business practices.

An expected audience

Joe Berchtold, president and chief financial officer of Live Nation (Ticketmaster’s parent company), acknowledged Tuesday that the company could have done better. He even went so far as to apologize to Taylor Swift and her fans during the hearing scheduled for the end of 2022. Despite everything, he wanted to remember that it is not Ticketmaster who decides the price of the tickets or the number of places there will be. to be available for a concert, and less the service fees, which are set by the venues. He also recalled shared responsibility for “bot attacks” that would have significantly slowed down the platform’s activities during tour ticket sales. ages. According to him, the events industry would like to see elected officials focus more on the problem of ticket scalping in order to prohibit fraudulent practices, such as scalping tickets that have not yet been officially put on sale.

the scandal too


PHOTO EDUARDO MUÑOZ, REUTERS File

singer taylor swift

As of early December, Ticketmaster (and Live Nation) was already facing more than two dozen lawsuits over advance sales and cancellation of general public ticket sales for the tour. ages by Taylor Swift. Aggrieved fans believe that Ticketmaster opened the pre-sale to “certified” fans knowing there would not be enough seats to meet demand, as well as allowing Taylor Swift tour tickets to be resold during the pre-sale, at prices well above the starting price. Press he had even found a ticket to a Swift show in Texas up for grabs for $38,000, after the official sale was cancelled.

However, the recriminations against Ticketmaster do not date back to last fall. The prohibitive prices of the concerts have caused a lot of ink to flow, especially for resale tickets, but also for regular sales. For example, tour tickets for the band Blink-182 sold for over $1,000 in regular sales and up to $13,000 in resale. Ticket prices for Bruce Springsteen concerts, some of which ran into thousands of dollars, also caused a stir in early 2022. Ticketmaster has been operating its own ticketing system since 2018 and anyone can offer tickets purchased on its platform. , in complete anonymity. asked by Press Last year, the company had promised to invest millions of dollars in technology to fight against the ‘bots’ that allow the purchase of tickets in large quantities.

A monopoly?

“Live Nation is so powerful that you don’t even need to exert pressure, make threats. People just line up,” Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar, head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, denounced on Tuesday. “That’s exactly the definition of a monopoly,” she said. In 2010, Ticketmaster merged with US events giant Live Nation, which also owns a large number of concert venues. Live Nation President Joe Berchtold told the Senate Tuesday that Ticketmaster had lost, not gained, market share since their merger. About 70% of concert tickets held at major venues in the United States are now sold through Ticketmaster. With more than 500 million tickets sold worldwide each year, in more than 30 countries, it is the largest company in the sector.

With Associated Press and Agence France-Presse


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