Congress demands answers from Live Nation

Taylor Swift accepts an award on stage during the 2022 MTV Europe Music Awards held at PSD Bank Dome on November 13, 2022 in Dusseldorf, Germany.

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Lawmakers have questions to ask LiveNation The CEO after Ticketmaster missed the recent Taylor Swift tour ticket sale.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee wrote a letter to Michael Rapino on Tuesday asking the executive to clarify Live Nation’s ticketing process for the Eras tour and provide a list of steps the company will take. to ensure that consumers will have better access to live entertainment in the future. Live Nation is the parent company of Ticketmaster.

Ticketmaster was supposed to open sales to 1.5 million verified Taylor Swift fans last month ahead of general public ticket sales. However, over 14 million users have flocked to the site, including bots, causing massive delays and crashes on the site. Ultimately, 2 million tickets were sold in the pre-sale and the sale to the general public was cancelled, company representatives said.

Ticketmaster said 3.5 million people had pre-registered under the “Verified Fan” program, which was designed to keep tickets in the hands of real fans and not resellers, resulting in many more requests for tickets which it was not possible to satisfy.

“This statement raises questions about your bot management solution and its ability to adequately protect consumers,” the House committee wrote in a letter.

The committee also asked Rapino to provide information about Ticketmaster surcharges, insider reservations, dynamic pricing, restrictions on ticket transferability, its verified fan program, and scalping by bots and other scammers. .

The committee noted in its letter that there is legislation in place to combat anti-consumer practices and that Ticketmaster could be fined if it “knowingly sells improperly purchased tickets” through automated processes.

The committee asked Rapino to schedule a briefing by December 15.

Representatives for Live Nation did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

Live Nation, which merged with Ticketmaster in 2010, has long been the subject of criticism over its size and power in the entertainment industry – complaints that only gained momentum after the Eras tour debacle.

Swift herself has publicly criticized the company for messing up the sales process.

“I’m not going to apologize to anyone because we’ve asked them many times if they can handle this kind of request and we’ve been assured they can,” she wrote in an Instagram post. last month. “It’s really amazing that 2.4 million people got tickets, but it really pisses me off that a lot of them feel like they’ve suffered multiple bear attacks to get them.”

Eras Tour tickets cost between $49 and $450, with VIP packages starting at $199 and reaching $899. Secondary market prices can be seen ranging from $800 to $20,000 per ticket.

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