Breakups and Taylor Swift go together somehow. After a mess with the impending “Eras” tour, which is scheduled to begin in March, activists and lawmakers are once again calling for the separation of Ticketmaster and Live Nation.
Since its 2010 merger with Ticketmaster, Live Nation has been criticised for both its size and dominance in the entertainment sector. This week, when Swift tickets went on presale on Ticketmaster’s website, people’s concerns intensified. Pre-sales had to be extended because of the influx of fans who disrupted the website and created long lines.
After the website appeared to breakdown or freeze during transactions, several ticket buyers immediately took to social media to express their frustration. They were unable to secure tickets for the performance. We’re sorry! was displayed on an error page for some people. We made a mistake and now we have to start anew. Broken items are annoying, and our team is working to prevent this from happening again.
Additionally, lawmakers are requesting that the Justice Department look into the business.
Tuesday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., tweeted, “Daily reminder that Ticketmaster is a monopoly.” “They need to be restrained because its merger with LiveNation should never have been approved. Split them up.
In a similar vein, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., referred to the Swift tour’s purchase as “a clear example of how the Live Nation/Ticketmaster merger affects consumers by creating a near-monopoly” in a Tweet sent out on Tuesday.
He continued, “I’ve long pushed DOJ to look into the level of competition in the ticketing market. “This anti-heroic behaviour is not what consumers deserve.”
When CNBC contacted Live Nation for comment, no one responded right away.
Others criticised the lengthy lines and ambiguity around “confirmed fan” tickets and presale passes. It was the goal of the verified fan programme, which was introduced in 2017, to keep tickets in the hands of legitimate fans and away from resellers.
But in a few instances, it didn’t seem to work. Within a short period of time, tickets for the tour were being sold on the secondary market for exorbitant prices.
Tickets for the “Eras” tour range in price from $49 to $450, with VIP packages costing between $199 and $899. Prices on the secondary market have been observed to range from $800 to $20,000 per ticket.
According to Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., “The [Taylor Swift] portal is not going well for many Swifties,” he tweeted on Tuesday. “I’ve heard reports of website outages and long fan wait times. You’d think that a functioning website might benefit from all these service and convenience costs.
Activists have demanded the dissolution of the firm and accused Ticketmaster and Live Nation of exploiting their market dominance.
According to a group of activists named “Break Up Ticketmaster,” “despite promises of enhanced competition and consumer advantage, they currently control 70% of the key ticketing and live event venues market.” They are taking advantage of fans, independent venues, and artists by raising ticket prices and imposing extortionate fees. The Department of Justice has the power to undo this merger and reintroduce competition to the market. Help us make sure they comply.
Swift’s most recent tour, which follows the release of her ground-breaking new album “Midnights,” has so far set 52 dates and is her biggest tour to date. Swift’s own record for North American gross ticket sales may be surpassed by the “Eras” tour.