Friday, March 24, 2023

Ticketmaster and LiveNation investigated by U.S. Senate for possible monopoly on live music


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Featured Photo by Kailee Shores

Story by Jenene Grover

The U.S. Senate met last week for a hearing about whether or not Ticketmaster and LiveNation are a monopoly.

Monopolies have existed throughout United States history, but multiple laws and acts have been put in place to prevent them. The lack of competition ensures the company has full control over the power to raise and lower prices, which can harm consumers.

Back in 2010, LiveNation and Ticketmaster merged despite warnings of monopolistic behavior from many senators and other officials.

“They provide all access to tickets for public events,” said Kristine McCusker, a U.S. history professor at Middle Tennessee State University. “When we talk about monopolies in the Gilded Age, we talk about cornering the market on a commodity, but we tend to think of the commodity being oil, something tangible. What the monopolies these days are are on access to information.”

Throughout the hearing, various senators referenced Taylor Swift songs, and Democrats and Republicans came together for a bipartisan issue.

“Mr. Berchtold, I want to congratulate and thank you for an absolutely stunning achievement,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal said in his opening remarks. “You have brought together Republicans and Democrats in an absolutely unified cause.”

Six witnesses representing various companies were questioned at the hearing: LiveNation President and CFO Joe Berchtold, SeatGeek Co-Founder and CEO Jack Groetzinger, James Madison Institute Senior Vice President Sal Nuzzo, American Antitrust Institute Vice President for Legal Advocacy Kathleen Bradish and Clyde Lawrence, of the band Lawrence.

“While the bots failed to penetrate our systems or acquire any tickets, the attack required us to slow down or even pause our sales,” Berchtold said in his opening statement. “This is what led to a terrible consumer experience, which we deeply regret. We apologize to the fans. We apologize to Ms. Swift. We need to do better, and we will do better.”

Subcommittee Chair and Sen. Amy Klobuchar commenced the hearing by addressing the issue at hand but also by quoting Taylor Swift.

“I believe in capitalism, and to have a strong capitalist system, you have to have competition,” Klobuchar said. “You can’t have too much consolidation, something that unfortunately for this country, as a ode to Taylor Swift, I will say, we know ‘all too well.’”

Another head subcommittee member, Sen. Mike Lee, also quoted Swift three times, including in his opening remarks, as a treat for his daughter.

Jenene Grover is the Government and Politics reporter for MTSU Sidelines.

To contact News Editor Kailee Shores and Assistant News Editor Alyssa Williams, email

For more news, visit, or follow us on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines or on Twitter and Instagram at @mtsusidelines.

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