Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skirmetti said he will investigate consumer complaints towards Ticketmaster for its handling of Taylor Swift’s tour presale.
Skirmetti announced the investigation during a press conference Thursday morning and noted antitrust violations “could be an issue” for Ticketmaster and its merger with Live Nation Entertainment. He said he is concerned about how a lack of competition in the marketplace can drive up prices and worsen the consumer experience. If an anti-trust law was violated, “there is a wide range of options available” he added, according to local outlet Action News.
Wednesday, the Tennessee Attorney General’s office addressed customer complaints in a tweet, saying Skirmetti and his team “will use every available tool to ensure that no consumer protection laws were violated.” His office has not made any specific allegations of misconduct towards Ticketmaster at this time. (RELATED: Target Blames ‘Organized Retail Crime’ Surge For $400 Million Profit Loss)
Democrats have raised similar concerns about the lack of competition in the ticketing industry after the problems fans had purchasing tickets to Taylor Swift’s new “Eras Tour.” Democratic. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota wrote a letter to Ticketmaster about the company’s service to customers and the lack of competition in the ticket industry, Variety reported. She claimed the company “continues to abuse its market positions” and “Ticketmaster’s power in the primary ticket market insulates it from the competitive pressures that typically push companies to innovate and improve their services.”
Likewise, Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York tweeted Wednesday, “Daily reminder that Ticketmaster is a monopoly, it’s merger with LiveNation should never have been approved, and they need to be reigned in. Break them up.”
Daily reminder that Ticketmaster is a monopoly, it’s merger with LiveNation should never have been approved, and they need to be reigned in.
Break them up.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 15, 2022
Ticketmaster and Live Nation control more than 70% of the primary ticketing and live event venues market, according to Bloomberg. Earlier in 2022, antitrust advocacy group American Economic Liberties Project called for the Justice Department to break up Ticketmaster and Live Nation in a letter obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. The group alleges Ticketmaster and Live Nation are price gouging consumers and using its market power to impose unfavorable conditions onto artists and venues.
An unaffiliated class-action lawsuit by consumers alleges Tickemaster and its parent company Live Nation Entertainment are violating the Sherman Act by arbitrarily rising prices, Bloomberg Law outlined back in June. Plaintiffs have focused on the companies’ potential ties to the impartial arbitration service they tasked with handling mass complaints.
Taylor Swift fans hoping to purchase concert tickets dealt with website outages, astronomical prices, long wait times and widespread confusion surrounding the presale. Ticketmaster attributed the difficulties to “unprecedented demand” in a statement posted on twitter.
— Ticketmaster (@Ticketmaster) November 15, 2022
In a CNBC appearance, Live Nation Chairman Greg Maffei told the network, “I apologize to all our fans. We are working hard on this.” He also cited the “massive demand Taylor Swift has” when asked to explain why fans were unable to purchase tickets in an orderly fashion. The Ticketmaster site was prepared for one million verified Taylor Swift fans and 14 million ended up visiting the website to buy a presale ticket, Maffei told CNBC.
The Tennessee Attorney General’s office did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment. Ticketmaster directed The Daily Caller to a public press release when asked for comment.