Taylor Swift accepts an award onstage during the MTV Europe Music Awards 2022 held at PSD Bank Dome on November 13, 2022 in Duesseldorf, Germany.
Jeff Kravitz | Filmmagic | Getty Images
Lawmakers have some questions for Live Nation’s CEO after Ticketmaster bungled the recent sale of Taylor Swift tour tickets.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee penned a letter to Michael Rapino Tuesday asking the executive to clarify Live Nation’s ticketing process for the Eras tour and provide a list of actions the company will take to ensure consumers will have better access to live entertainment in the future. Live Nation is the parent company of Ticketmaster.
Ticketmaster was supposed to open up sales for 1.5 million verified Taylor Swift fans last month ahead of general public ticket sales. However, more than 14 million users flocked to the site, including bots, spurring massive delays and lockouts on the site. Ultimately, 2 million tickets were sold during the presale and the general public sale was canceled, company representatives said.
Ticketmaster said 3.5 million people had preregistered as part of the “Verified Fan” program, which was designed to keep tickets in the hands of actual fans and not resellers, resulting in far more requests for tickets than could be fulfilled.
“This statement raises questions over your bot management solution and its ability to adequately protect consumers,” the House committee wrote in a letter.
The committee also requested that Rapino provide insights into Ticketmaster’s additional fees, insider reserves, dynamic pricing, restrictions on transferability of tickets, its verified fan program and scalping by bots and other scammers.
The committee noted in its letter that there is legislation is in place to address anti-consumer practices and that Ticketmaster could be slapped with fines if it “knowingly sold tickets that were improperly purchased” by automated processes.
The committee requested that Rapino schedule a briefing by Dec. 15.
Representatives from Live Nation did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
Live Nation, which merged with Ticketmaster in 2010, has faced long-standing criticisms about its size and power in the entertainment industry — complaints that have only gained steam following the Eras tour debacle.
Swift herself publicly slammed the company for bungling the sales process.
“I’m not going to make excuses for anyone because we asked them, multiple times, if they could handle this kind of demand and we were assured they could,” she wrote in an Instagram post last month. “It’s truly amazing that 2.4 million people got tickets, but it really pisses me off that a lot of them feel like they went through several bear attacks to get them.”
Eras tour tickets were priced from $49 to $450, with VIP packages starting at $199 and reaching $899. Secondary market prices can be seen ranging from $800 to $20,000 per ticket.