On the grill of the United States Senate, the Ticketmaster platform admitted on Tuesday to having a “responsibility” in the cacophony around the sale of tickets for the tour of the American star Taylor Swift last November.
“Looking back, there are several things we could have done better,” conceded Joe Berchtold, head of Live Nation Entertainment, parent company of Ticketmaster.
However, he hastened to point out the shared responsibility for “bot attacks” which would have significantly slowed down the operations of the platform during the sale of Taylor Swift tickets in mid-November.
Endless wait times, bugs, and skyrocketing prices…during the advance sales of the “Eras” (“eras”) tour, which kicks off on March 18, a litany of fans had complained on social networks.
This chaotic situation had revived criticism of the dominant position of this giant in the ticket sales sector, which merged in 2010 with the entertainment giant Live Nation.
Without naming her directly, the singer had tackled the platform in an Instagram post, claiming to be “out of her mind” after seeing so many of her fans “living a nightmare”.
– $250 for 10 towels –
If the pop star did not make the trip to Congress on Tuesday, senators heard the testimony of Clyde Lawrence, a soul singer, who castigated “the total lack of visibility” that artists have in the face of fees charged by the platform.
Because in addition to selling tickets, Live Nation also owns a large number of concert halls.
“If they want to charge us $250 for 10 clean towels, they can, and they did,” the musician criticized.
“That’s exactly the definition of a monopoly,” said Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar. “Live Nation is so powerful that it does not even need to exert the slightest pressure, to lavish threats. People simply fall into line”, criticized the elected official, head of the powerful commission. Senate judiciary.
Prices for rock legend Bruce Springsteen’s concerts, some in the thousands of dollars, also caused an uproar in early 2022.
In the middle of the morning, a handful of Taylor Swift fans gathered in front of Congress to also denounce the actions of the platform.
Ticketmaster “controls the (music) industry in a way that is completely unfair to consumers,” said Jennifer Kinder, a 56-year-old lawyer.
In November 2022, this Texan waited nine hours on Ticketmaster, hoping to get a ticket with her daughter and hear Taylor Swift sing “Midnights” — her favorite album.
“I never managed to get tickets,” said this woman, wrapped in a black down jacket in front of the US Congress, which filed a complaint against the platform.