Ticketmaster said it learned a “valuable lesson” from the failure to sell Taylor Swift’s concert last year, though it may not be enough to convince US politicians that the company has too much to do. more control in the live events market.
On Tuesday, a top executive from Ticketmaster’s parent company Live Nation Entertainment appeared in the US Senate to argue that it doesn’t hold a monopoly on ticket sales. The company has also refused to violate any antitrust laws.
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In written testimony submitted before the trial on Tuesday, Live Nation claimed that Ticketmaster’s sale of Taylor Swift was the target of software bots that illegally obtained tickets and stole eager fans. These bots can then flip and resell tickets purchased in bulk at sky-high prices.
In November 2022, a chaotic pre-sale for Swift’s 2023 Eras stadium tour prevented thousands of fans from entering. Although Ticketmaster requires fans to sign up for the pre-sale to prevent cyberattacks, fans have experienced website crashes and hours-long online queues.
The company claims that more than 3.5 million people have signed up for the presale. In a statement, Ticketmaster wrote that it sold more than two million tickets and received 3.5 billion system requests, four times the previous peak.
As a result, Ticketmaster had to cancel the planned general ticket sale due to a lack of inventory.
After the failed sale, Swift said, “it’s very painful for me to see mistakes happen with no remedial measures.”
“We apologize to the fans, we apologize to Ms. Swift, we need to do better and we will do better,” Live Nation president and chief financial officer, Joe Berchtold, said during the session. ceiling on Tuesday.
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“Looking back, there are a few things we could have done better, including reducing sales over a longer period of time and doing a better job of setting fan expectations on ticket purchases. .”
Ticketmaster merged with Live Nation in 2010, which reportedly resulted in control of more than 70% of the major ticketing market and live event venues.
Berchtold asked lawmakers to focus on creating legislation regarding ticket replication and other fraudulent practices, such as third-party listings for unsold tickets.
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Live Nation said in November that the reason it holds such a dominant role in the market is that “a huge gap exists between the quality of the Ticketmaster system and the next best mainstream ticketing system.”
Jack Groetzinger, co-founder of ticketing platform SeatGeek, said during a Senate hearing on Tuesday that current ticketing methods are “outdated and ripe for innovation.”
“As long as Live Nation remains the dominant concert promoter and ticket seller at major venues in the United States, the industry will continue to lack competition and struggle,” he told lawmakers. .
— With files from Reuters
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