U.S. Senators Klobuchar, Lee Urge DOJ Action Against Ticketmaster, Live Nation After Judiciary Hearings

Congress urges DOJ investigation Ticketmaster

Photo Credit: Joshua Sukoff

U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Mike Lee (R-UT) are calling for the Department of Justice to continue investigating Ticketmaster and Live Nation’s anti-competitive practices.

In a bipartisan letter after the recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, both Senators urge the DOJ to take action. “We have long been concerned about the state of competition in America’s ticketing industry, especially with the power and reach of Live Nation and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Ticketmaster. For too long, Live Nation and Ticketmaster have wielded monopoly power anti-competitively, harming fans and artists alike,” the Senators write to Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division of the DOJ, Johnathan Kanter.

“We recently held a bipartisan hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee at which the President of Live Nation testified under oath, as did other industry participants, including an artist, a secondary market ticketing company, a promoter, and industry experts. As an initial matter, other than Live Nation’s executive, every witness at our hearing testified that Live Nation is harming America’s music industry.”

“We asked Live Nation a number of questions about competition both at the hearing and afterwards, but it has largely failed to answer them,” the letter continues. “Live Nation’s responses amount to ‘trust us.’ We believe that is wholly insufficient. We thank you for your prompt attention to these matters and encourage the Antitrust Division to take action if it finds that Ticketmaster has walled itself off from competitive pressure at the expense of the industry and fans.”

Klobuchar and Lee organized the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing reports after Taylor Swift’s new Eras tour crashed the Ticketmaster website. Ticketmaster swiftly responded by making sure Beyonce ticket sales were staggered, but ticket prices are still massively inflated thanks to the high demand. Ticketmaster fees are killing smaller artists, too.

Clyde Lawrence, lead singer in the band Lawrence, testified that on a $30 ticket, Live Nation adds $12 in fees and of the $42 that the customer pays for tickets, only $12 goes to the band before accounting for the cost of the tour. Jam Productions testified that Live Nation attempts to lock up talent so that competitors cannot produce concert tours. 87% of Billboard’s Top 40 tours in 2022 were ticketed by Ticketmaster in the U.S. Ticketmaster also has exclusive ticketing contracts for more than 85% of the nation’s NFL, NHL, and NBA teams.