ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT

Taylor Swift ticket meltdown sparks outrage about Ticketmaster’s power

Nov 17, 2022, 10:18 AM | Updated: 1:52 pm

Ticketmaster said Monday that some Taylor Swift fans may have another chance to buy tickets to her ...

FILE: NSAI Songwriter-Artist of the Decade honoree, Taylor Swift performs onstage during NSAI 2022 Nashville Songwriter Awards at Ryman Auditorium on September 20, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Terry Wyatt/Getty Images VIA cnn)

(Terry Wyatt/Getty Images VIA cnn)

(CNN) — Taylor Swift fans’ outrage over Ticketmaster’s service meltdown Tuesday has shined a spotlight on a common and recurring criticism about the ticketing company: It has practically no competition. For many, buyers there’s no avoiding Ticketmaster if you want to attend an event.

Tuesday’s meltdown brought calls by lawmakers to break up Live Nation, the country’s largest concert promoter and Ticketmaster’s parent company, which they say has a stranglehold on ticket sales to top events.

“@Ticketmaster’s excessive wait times and fees are completely unacceptable, as seen with today’s @taylorswift13 tickets, and are a symptom of a larger problem. It’s no secret that Live Nation-Ticketmaster is an unchecked monopoly,” tweeted Rep. David Cicilline, currentlly the chairman of the Antitrust Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee.

“Daily reminder that Ticketmaster is a monopoly, its merger with LiveNation should never have been approved, and they need to be reined in,” tweeted US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Even some opposed to calls for antitrust action against big tech companies took shots at Ticketmaster Wednesday. NetChoice, a trade group backed by some of the tech giants such as Amazon, Google and Facebook holding company Meta, said that those calling to break-up big tech companies should instead focus on breaking up the Live Nation and Ticketmaster.

“Congress and the Federal Trade Commission have wasted their time and taxpayer money trying to radically change antitrust laws and filing meritless lawsuits against companies like Meta, which are operating in highly competitive environments. Instead, the government should use existing resources and laws to protect consumers and investigate Ticketmaster’s anti-competitive practices in the concert marketplace,” said the group.

Ticketmaster did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But complaints about the company’s monopoly power, go back long, long before Tuesday’s ticket problems, when the platform appeared to crash or freeze during presale purchases for Swift’s latest tour.

In 1994, when Taylor Swift was only four years old and ticket purchase queues were in person or on the phone, not online, the rock group Pearl Jam filed a complaint with the Justice Department’s antitrust division asserting that Ticketmaster has a “virtually absolute monopoly on the distribution of tickets to concerts.” It tried to book its tour only at venues that didn’t use Ticketmaster.

The Justice Department and many state attorneys general have made similar complaints over the years.

Despite those concerns, Ticketmaster continued to grow more dominant. Pearl Jam’s complaint was quietly dismissed. The Justice Department and states allowed the Live Nation Ticketmaster merger to go through despite a 2010 court filing in the case raising objections to the merger. In the filing, the Justice Department said that Ticketmaster’s share among major concert venues exceeded 80%.

Ticketmaster disputes that market share estimate and estimates it holds at most just over 30% of the concert market, according to comments on NPR recently by Joe Berchtold, CFO of Live Nation Entertainment.

But the market share numbers don’t really matter for the thousands of shows and sporting events for which Ticketmaster has contracts to handle initial ticket sales, whether it’s for a Taylor Swift concert at an NFL stadium or a a little-known band playing at an intimate club.

And fans who want to attend those events have virtually no alternative other than to pay the substantial fees tacked onto the ticket prices by Ticketmaster.

Past efforts to rein in Ticketmaster control over the ticket market have failed. Pearl Jam dropped its effort in 1995. The Justice Department and the states gave approval of to the Live Nation-Ticketmaster combination, but did call for some oversight. Now, the matter might not end there.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Arts + Entertainment

For what’s supposed to be one of the laziest comic strip cats on Earth, this particular Garfield ...

Steve Salles

KSL Movie Show Review: Nothing can save ‘The Garfield Movie’

An uncharacteristically active Garfield begs the question - who is this feline? He certainly doesn’t resemble the Garfield created by Jim Davis.

2 days ago

ksl movie show host steve salles next to 'Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga movie poster...

Steve Salles

KSL Movie Show review: ‘Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga’ is powerful, painful, magnificent and exhausting

In this KSL Movie Show review, we dive into the world of "Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga," a prequel to "Mad Max: Fury Road."

3 days ago

Maurice Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City, Utah....

Mariah Maynes

Utah Symphony aims to bring music to all listeners

The Utah Symphony works to provide music to everyone in Utah, regardless of the genres they prefer.

3 days ago

File: Day Two of the Girl Gamer Esports Festival in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Cyber security exp...

Aimee Cobabe

Parents, do you know who’s chatting with the kids on Roblox?

Roblox is an online gaming platform used by 71.5 million people every day. About half of those users are under age 13.

4 days ago

Abravanel Hall master plan...

Mark Jackson

Public comments heard at council meeting after Abravanel Hall master plan released

After an Abravanel Hall Master plans was announced on Tuesday, the Salt Lake City Council heard hours of public comments.

5 days ago

FILE: Crossroads Urban Center is pictured in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. Advocates f...

Ashley Fredde, KSL.com

Advocates urge officials to include affordable housing in new sports and entertainment district

Crossroads Urban Center wants Salt Lake officials to mandate deeply affordable housing in a new sports and entertainment district.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

Taylor Swift ticket meltdown sparks outrage about Ticketmaster’s power