The debacle surrounding the advance ticket sale for superstar Taylor Swift's (33) US stadium tour even occupied the US Congress. At a public hearing by the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, senators targeted concert ticket provider Ticketmaster.
"They have a clear dominance, a monopolistic control. The whole concert ticket system is a mess, a monopolistic mess," said Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal at the beginning of the session.
The background is that Ticketmaster stopped pre-sales for the tour in November. The enormous demand and a "breathtaking number of bot attacks" led to a historic record of hits on the website, it said. This collapsed.
"We knew bots would attack that sale and planned accordingly. We were then faced with three times the amount of bot traffic we've ever seen," said entertainment company Live Nation president Joe Berchtold. Ticketmaster is owned by Live Nation. The companies merged in 2010.
The bots didn't break into the system, but they did shut it down, he said. "This resulted in a terrible customer experience that we deeply regret. Our apologies to fans. Our apologies to Ms. Swift."
Ticketmaster's market power was also a central topic of the hearing. "Competition policy is very important to me. I believe in capitalism and to have a strong capitalist system you have to have competition, you can't have too much consolidation," said Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar. Berchtold rejected the accusation that there is less competition these days. Another topic at the meeting was the lack of transparency in service fees when purchasing tickets.