Sen. Amy Klobuchar is calling for a Senate investigation into Ticketmaster, which canceled sales for Taylor Swift’s upcoming tour on Thursday. The company cited technical glitches for the cancellation and admitted it could not keep up with the overwhelming demand.
Klobuchar, who chairs a Senate subcommittee on consumer protection and anti-trust and has criticized the company multiple times over concerns about anti-trust violations, told CBS Minnesota affiliate WCCO, “I’ve called for years for a change, and maybe Taylor Swift fans … will finally put it over the edge.”
She also wants the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the company, which has a virtual monopoly on concert tickets in the country. Ticketmaster and rival Live Nation merged in 2010.
“There just has to be consequences for this kind of behavior,” Klobuchar told WCCO. “Because unlike competitive markets, where you just go down the street if you don’t like one store, you go to this store, you go to this grocery store — you don’t have that choice here.”
New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez agreed, saying that Ticketmaster is a “monopoly” that need to be “reined in,” adding that the merger “should never have been approved.”
Klobuchar has already written to CEO Michael Rapino, expressing “serious concerns about the state of competition in the ticketing industry and its harmful impact on consumers.”
David Balto, the former policy director of the Federal Trade Commission told Insider on Thursday, “what Ticketmaster does is it transfers information and money — and makes a horrendous amount of money. It’s just amazing they can make that much money doing it. They were dominant before the merger, but now with Live Nation, they’re in an even more dominant position because they have the largest concert promoter in the United States.”
In a statement on Thursday, Ticketmaster chalked up the cancellation to “extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand.” Live Nation chariman Greg Maffei told CNBC Thursday that they had 1.5 million “verified fan” pre-sale codes, but their site crashed when 14 million logged in on Tuesday.
“Building capacity for peak demand is something we attempt to do, but this exceeded every expectation,” Maffei said.