U.S. senator questions Ticketmaster after complaints about Taylor Swift sales

LOS ANGELES/WASHINGTON, Nov 17 (Reuters) – Ticketmaster faced questions from a Democratic U.S. senator on Thursday over its sales practices, two days after Taylor Swift fans complained about a website shutdown and Long wait to buy tickets for his next US tour.

In a letter to Ticketmaster parent Live Nation Entertainment Inc ( LYV.N ), Senator Amy Klobuchar, chair of the Senate Antitrust Panel, expressed “grave concern about the state of competition in the ticket industry and its detrimental effect on consumers.” .”

“Ticketmaster’s strength in the core ticket market insulates it from the competitive pressures that typically push companies to innovate and improve their services,” Klobuchar added in the letter he released publicly. did “This could result in the types of dramatic service failures we saw this week, where consumers are the ones who pay the price.”

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Ticketmaster said in a statement on Thursday that it had expected high demand for tickets to see Swift perform on her first tour in five years, but this extreme interest, along with bot attacks, was “unprecedented on our site.” traffic” and caused inconvenience to some. fans

“Big venues and artists turn to us because we have world-leading ticketing technology – that doesn’t mean it’s perfect, and obviously Taylor’s sales weren’t,” the statement said. “But we’re always working to improve the experience of buying tickets.”

The company added that about 15 percent of conversations experienced problems across the site and sold 2 million tickets on Tuesday.

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That day, Swift fans flocked to the Ticketmaster website and faced long wait times, with many unable to purchase tickets. Ticketmaster did not respond to Bayan Klobuchar’s competition concerns.

In his letter, Klobuchar asked Live Nation Chief Executive Michael Rapnow to answer questions about how much the company had spent upgrading technology to handle the surge in demand, and what percentage of high-profile tour tickets were reserved for presale. have been done The Ticketmaster statement did not respond to these questions.

Live Nation and Ticketmaster merged in 2010 in a deal approved by the Justice Department. Governments can challenge completed mergers but rarely do. Klobuchar, in her letter, said she was skeptical of the combination at the time.

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Ticketmaster has pissed off artists and fans for decades. In the mid-1990s, grunge band Pearl Jam decided to tour without using Ticketmaster but found it too cumbersome and returned to the service after 14 months.

Reporting by Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles and Dan Bartz in Washington Editing by Gary Doyle and Matthew Lewis

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Don Bartz

Thomson Reuters

American mistrust as well as on corporate regulation and legislation, covering the war in Bosnia, including elections in Mexico and Nicaragua, as well as stories from Brazil, Chile, Cuba, El Salvador, Nigeria and Peru.

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