May 19, 2024

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UPDATED, with Live Nation response: A Senate subcommittee has subpoenaed Live Nation/Ticketmaster, demanding documents as part of an investigation into exorbitant ticket prices for Taylor Swift, Bruce Springsteen and other concerts.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), who chairs the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, wrote earlier this month to Live Nation Entertainment CEO Michael Rapino and said that, since the investigation was launched in March, the company has “failed to comply” with their requests.

Read the letter to Rapino.

The investigation is looking into ticket pricing, fees and resale practices, among other things. The subscommittee also is seeking records related to Live Nation/Ticketmaster‘s “failure to combat artificially inflated demand fueled by bots in multiple, high-profile incidents,” Blumenthal wrote in his letter.

In a statement, Blumenthal said, “This subpoena demands that the company promptly comply with our request for documents essential to understand its business practices. American consumers deserve fair ticket prices, without hidden fees or predatory charges. And the American public deserves to know how Ticketmaster’s unfair practices may be enabled by its misuse of monopoly power.”

A Live Nation spokesperson said that the company “has voluntarily worked with the Subcommittee from the start, providing extensive information and holding several meetings with staff. In order to provide additional information requested about artist and client compensation and other similarly sensitive matters, we’ve asked for standard confidentiality measures. Thus far the Subcommittee has refused to provide such assurances, but if and when those protections are in place we will provide additional information on these issues.”

Live Nation has been under an extra level of scrutiny since last year, when Ticketmaster’s website crashed amid an overload of demand for Swift concert tickets. Joe Berchtold, president and CFO, faced a grilling by lawmakers of both parties at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in January. But Berchtold said that the artist sets the price of the ticket and, in most cases, the venue controls the fee. 

The subpoena also seeks annual financial data related to fees, the company’s recommendations for ticket pricing, business strategies regarding ticket pricing, secondary ticketing, communications relating to high-profile incidents in 2022, and customer research and surveys regarding ticket pricing and fees, according to a spokesperson for Blumenthal.

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