Taylor Swift fans are angry at Ticketmaster’s merger with Live Nation after the company’s debacle around her concert tickets. An antitrust expert who testified against it said he thinks breaking it up will be a ‘main precedence’ for the authorities.

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Taylor Swift performs at the 2016 Grammy Awards.

  • The Taylor Swift tickets queue was as soon as a madhouse, earlier than Ticketmaster canceled its public ticket sale.
  • Some are pointing to Ticketmaster’s merger with Live Nation as the motive that costs are excessive and competitors low.
  • An antitrust expert who testified against the merger instructed Insider that breaking it up “will be a major priority for the antitrust division” of the DOJ.

On Tuesday, Swifties throughout the nation geared up for the nice conflict to get tickets for Taylor Swift’s Eras tour

Many come up against disappointment, mud accumulating as they waited in on-line presale queues for hours. Meanwhile, seats have been popping up on resale websites for hundreds of {dollars}. 

Now, the basic public will not even have a probability to try to scoop up tickets. On Thursday, Ticketmaster announced it was canceling the subsequent day’s public gross sales of the tickets as a consequence of “extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand.” 

It’s the type of state of affairs that David Balto, the former coverage director of the Federal Trade Commission and a public curiosity antitrust lawyer, warned about in 2009 when Ticketmaster first moved to accumulate LiveNation. Balto testified against the merger in entrance of the Senate Judiciary Committee, saying that Ticketmaster “holds a monopoly in the ticket sales market,” and that the merger with LiveNation would result in “less choice and higher prices.”

He anticipated that the merger would additional scale back competitors amongst ticket resellers, resulting in larger costs on the resale market. Ticketmaster said that over 2 million tickets have been bought in a single day for Swift’s tour, and “90% fewer tickets are currently posted for resale on secondary markets than a typical on sale.” Even so, tickets are popping up on resale websites for tens of thousands of dollars, a wrestle that music lovers today know all too well.

The merger between Ticketmaster and LiveNation ended up going by way of in 2010, albeit with the Department of Justice requiring that Ticketmaster “license its ticketing software, divest ticketing assets and subject itself to anti-retaliation provisions” to maneuver ahead.

“The merger has led to substantially higher ticketing fees by Ticketmaster, less innovation in the market, and probably a reduction in concert promotions,” Balto instructed Insider.

In the third quarter of 2022, Live Nation reported income of $6.2 billion — a 63% improve in comparison with 2019. Over the first 9 months of 2022, they bought 197,007,000 tickets bearing charges.  

Balto said that “what Ticketmaster does is it transfers information and money — and makes a horrendous amount of money.”

“The value in going to the Taylor Swift concert is Taylor Swift,” Balto said. “The value is not printing off that ticket or whatever about facilitating the ticket transaction.” 

“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,” he said. 

The insanity over Taylor Swift tickets has refreshed calls for the merger to be reexamined, with several lawmakers weighing in. Balto famous that the merger might be challenged at any time, one thing public advocacy teams have been calling for

“Daily reminder that Ticketmaster is a monopoly, it’s merger with LiveNation should never have been approved, and they need to be reigned in,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter. “Break them up.”

And Bill Pascrell Jr., chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight, shared a “tbt” picture of when he “pleaded with the Obama admin to block the Ticketmaster-Live Nation merger in 2009.” 

“I wish they’d listened,” Pascrell tweeted. “Fans and now Swifties have been ripped off long enough. Break up Ticketmaster.”

 

Ticketmaster and the Department of Justice each didn’t instantly reply to Insider’s request for touch upon calls to interrupt up the merger. 

“I think that breaking up this merger will be a major priority for the antitrust division,” Balto said, including: “It’s really a fascinating situation, and hopefully the antitrust division will use all of its powers to try to correct the blatant anti-competitive conduct in this market.”

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