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“That’s a monopoly”: Sen. Amy Klobuchar aims to weaken Ticketmaster’s grip on entertainment industry

Taylor Swift

Ticketmaster is heading to Congress on Tuesday, and Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar cannot wait to grill officials on their business practices and what went wrong with Taylor Swift‘s tour presale.

“In the live music industry, there’s the unique fact that you’ve got a company that has 70 percent of tickets for major concert venues. However you look at it, that’s a monopoly,” Klobuchar told Rolling Stone. “And when you have monopolies, you get problems.”

She pointed out the Swift ticketing fiasco, as well as similar issues with selling tickets for Harry StylesBruce SpringsteenBTS and others. “It is a critical moment for us to step back and to look at what is going on and why,” said Klobuchar.

One item she plans to ask Ticketmaster about is its fees. “In 2018, many years ago, the Government Accountability Office found that on average fees cost 27 percent of a ticket’s face value, but we’ve also seen reports of fees totaling 75 percent of face value,” she said. “That happens with monopolies: they can raise fees on fans and the fees are often hidden.”

The senator also aims to investigate whether Live Nation is stifling competition. She cited claims of the company pressuring music venues into using Ticketmaster or risking losing access to Live Nation’s shows. “Then you have the fact that they lock up venues with exclusivity deals that can last three, five or even seven years, preventing them from booking any other company,” Klobuchar added.

The hearing is meant to find ways to change the current conditions to allow more competition.

The That’s The Ticket: Promoting Competition and Protecting Consumers in Live Entertainment hearing will be held Tuesday, January 24, at 10 a.m. ET before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights.

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