Ticketmaster facing antitrust scrutiny after Taylor Swift ticket chaos • TechCrunch

Ticket master faces more criticism from politicians after the chaotic advance sale of tickets for Taylor Swift’s tour. Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti said he is investigating whether Ticketmaster violated consumer rights and antitrust rules. Skrmetti is the latest politician to draw attention to Ticketmaster and Live Nation’s grip on the ticket market.

This is because Ticketmaster canceled the public sale for Swift’s tour, called Eras. In a tweetTicketmaster said the cancellation was due to “extremely high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand.”

The public sale would have been for tickets left over from the site’s troubled presale, which began Tuesday for members of the Verified Fan program. Many fans experienced technical glitches and hours of waiting, which ultimately prevented many from purchasing a ticket.

According to the New York Times, Ticketmaster said in a now-deleted post that 3.5 million people have registered for the Verified Fan program. About 1.5 million were given a special access code, the rest were placed on a waiting list. “Never before has a verified fan sale attracted so much attention – or uninvited volumes,” said Ticketmaster.

Skrmetti said he had received complaints from fans trying to buy tickets for Eras. In a tweet Thursday, the attorney general said other attorneys general are also investigating the matter: “Ticketmaster’s decision to cancel the sale underlines the important need for accountability. Fans deserve a fair chance to buy a ticket. I am encouraged by other state AGs who are also taking this issue seriously.”

The Washington Post reports that Skrmetti said Ticketmaster should have been better prepared for the high demand and wondered if “because they have such a dominant position in the market, they felt they didn’t have to worry about that.”

In another tweet before canceling the sale, the attorney general’s office said Skrmetti is “concerned about consumer complaints related to @Ticketmaster’s presale of @taylorswift13 concert tickets. He and his consumer protection team will use every available tool to ensure no consumer protection laws are violated.”

TechCrunch has reached out to Ticketmaster and Skrmetti’s office for comment.

Eras is Swift’s first tour in four years and comes after the release of her new album ‘Midnights’.

Other politicians who have raised concerns about the combined company of Ticketmaster and Live Nation, which merged in 2010, include Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Representative David N. Cicilline, and Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr.

On Tuesday, Representative Ocasio-Cortez said in a tweet on Tuesday that “Ticketmaster is a monopoly, the merger with LiveNation should never have been approved, and they should be ruled. Break them up.”

Representative Cicilline tweeted on Wednesday that Ticketmaster’s excessive wait times and fees are completely unacceptable, as seen with today’s @taylorswift13 tickets, and are a symptom of a bigger problem. It’s no secret that Live Nation Ticketmaster is an unchecked monopoly.”

And Representative Pascrell, Jr., who was among the millions of fans who are on a waiting list for Swift tickets, tweeted that Ticketmaster “The Ticketmaster-Live Nation monopoly should never have merged and must be broken up.”

Consumers are also pushing for a split between Ticketmaster and Live Nation. An alliance of consumer rights groups, including antitrust nonprofit American Economic Liberties Project, launched a campaign last month called Breakup Ticketmastersaying that Ticketmaster’s “market power over live events is ripping off sports and music fans and undermining the vibrancy and independence of the music industry.”

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