Congress seeks answers from Live Nation after Taylor Swift ticket sale debacle
7th December 2022

Congress is ramping up its fight against Ticketmaster's parent company, Live Nation Entertainment (LYV), following last month's Taylor Swift ticketing fiasco.

On Tuesday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee wrote a letter addressed to Live Nation CEO, Michael Rapino. It requested a rundown of Live Nation's ticketing process for Swift's "Eras" tour, in addition to a list of actions the company has since taken to ensure consumers can better access live entertainment.

The letter also asked Rapino to schedule a briefing no later than December 15.

"The recent pre-sale ticketing process for Taylor Swift’s upcoming Eras tour — in which millions of fans endured delays, lockouts, and competition with aggressive scammers, scalpers, and bots — raises concerns over the potential unfair and deceptive practices that face consumers and eventgoers," the letter read, adding more information is needed in regards to Ticketmaster's Verified Fan program, along with its handling of bots, hidden fees, dynamic pricing, and more.

The committee's letter comes after The New York Times reported the Justice Department has opened an antitrust investigation into the company. Live Nation did not immediately respond to Yahoo Finance's request for comment.

Ticketmaster canceled its general ticket sale shortly following the presale debacle. Swift weighed in on the situation, saying it's been "excruciating" to watch mistakes happen.

Shares of Live Nation hit their lowest levels since February 2021 in the immediate wake of the debacle and initial public outrage. The stock is down more than 40% since the start of the year.

'Part of the solution'

Some analysts have argued an antitrust investigation into Live Nation isn't necessarily fair, previously telling Yahoo Finance that Ticketmaster has attempted to solve a big problem in the live events industry — the unregulated secondary ticket market.

"Live Nation and Ticketmaster have become sort of a corporate punching bag, but I actually believe that Ticketmaster is part of the solution — it's not part of the problem," Douglas Arthur, analyst at Huber Research Partners, told Yahoo Finance.

"The secondary market is the wild wild west, and it's unregulated. … Fans pay too much and the artist doesn't benefit from the proceeds," Arthur added.

According to Ticketmaster, the platform sold over 2 million tickets through the presale — the most ever for an artist in a single day. The company also noted every ticket was sold to a buyer with a Verified Fan code.

Arthur said a potential untangling of the two companies would be incredibly complicated after Live Nation and Ticketmaster merged in 2010.

"It would be a very complicated, lengthy period with lots of lawsuits. I'm not sure the end result would be any better, either," he said. Ultimately, "this [Taylor Swift] situation is a one-off for me. The demand was through the roof — they misjudged that, but this is a one-off."

Alexandra is a Senior Entertainment and Media Reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alliecanal8193 and email her at [email protected]

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