Live Nation retains Joe Biden-ally Mark Pryor as the company’s lobbying hiring spree to combat government scrutiny over Ticketmaster continues.
Ticketmaster parent company Live Nation has retained former Senator Mark Pryor, a one-time colleague of President Joe Biden, and former Senate Democratic aide Andrew Usyk of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck at the end of March to lobby on ticket sales legislation, according to documents Politico unearthed last week.
Brownstein — the top-grossing firm in Washington D.C. — is the third new firm added to Live Nation’s collection of lobbyists since December. That was when the botched presale for Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour renewed scrutiny of Live Nation’s 2010 merger with Ticketmaster and the company’s dominance in the ticketing and promotion industries.
That issue led to a new Justice Department investigation into whether Live Nation had complied with agreements put into place when the DOJ approved the merger, which has attracted interest in potential legislation for ticketing reforms.
Interestingly, Pryor authored a 2021 New York Times op-ed calling for the Biden Administration to reinvigorate antitrust enforcement — an argument that favors the exact kind of enforcement considered by many to be necessary against the company that now pays him a retainer.
In December, Live Nation hired top antitrust lobbyist Seth Bloom, the former longtime general counsel for the Senate’s antitrust subcommittee, and a team of lobbyists at Stewart Strategies and Solutions. Among those lobbyists are Jonathan Becker, former chief of staff for Sen. Klobuchar, and external counsel and antitrust attorney Dan Wall.
The ticketing and concert-promoting giant spent more than $1 million on lobbying in 2022, more than four times what the company spent in 2019, with projections likely to exceed that number by the end of 2023.
Additionally, Live Nation was quick to draw up recommendations for ticketing reform to focus attention away from itself and on the ticket resale market. Its “FAIR” ticketing reforms would effectively ignore allegations of the company’s wrongdoing in favor of eliminating competitors through walled-garden ticketing schemes.