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Hawley, Cleaver call for Ticketmaster “monopoly” to be dissolved

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Hell hath no fury like Taylor Swift fans despised.

More than two months after “unprecedented demand” devastated sales of Swift’s upcoming “The Eras Tour,” Ticketmaster officials were questioned Tuesday at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, DC

Senator Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, has urged the Justice Department to sue Live Nation Entertainment, which owns Ticketmaster, after a 2010 merger that many people complain about created a monopoly.

“They probably never should have been allowed to merge,” Hawley said Wednesday in an exclusive interview with KSHB 41 News. “And I think you can make a strong enough case that the Justice Department needs to sue to force them to divest some of the pieces of their company.”

Hawley pointed out that Live Nation’s ownership of the venues and ticketing apparatus, with a growing influence in the ticket resale market, creates unsustainable market conditions.

“This is just a big deal for the competition and we see them abusing that and how they set ticket prices,” Hawley said. “We see their business practices, the artists hate that, so I think it’s probably time for the Justice Department to come in and say, ‘Listen, you can’t have a monopoly on both the ticket sales business and the venue operation and resale.’ Only one person shouldn’t be able to own all of this.It’s just anti-competitive.

RELATED | Ticketmaster scraps plans to sell Swift tickets to the general public

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II — who represents the Kansas City, Missouri side where GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium is located — may not have attended the Senate hearings, but he was happy to see Ticketmaster under scrutiny.

Live Nation’s monopoly on the live entertainment industry is bad for artists, bad for consumers, and bad for entertainment in general. Market consolidation is a challenge facing many industries in America, and it’s something Congress and the Biden administration should address together so they can quell corporate greed and reduce costs to the public.

While I’m certainly glad the Senate met in a bipartisan fashion to keep Live Nation’s feet on fire, it’s important that Congress do more than hold a hearing. We need bipartisan legislation to help increase competition in the industry, and we need it now.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, a Democrat from Missouri

Swift will perform July 7-8 at Arrowhead Stadium’s GEHA Field. The Kansas City leg was announced on November 1, and a second date was added 10 days later.

Fans were due to sign up for an advance sale, but Ticketmaster blamed the bots for, among other things, overloading its system before scrapping plans to put tickets on sale to the general public.

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