Ticketmaster's mishandling of Taylor Swift's concert ticket sale in November earned its parent company a spot in the hot seat at the Senate Judiciary Committee's Tuesday hearing.
Lawmakers grilled Live Nation president and CFO Joe Berchtold on the company's market practices, with some claiming that it is monopolizing the market and hurting customers.
Here are the highlights from the hearing, not counting the lawmakers' random references to Taylor Swift's lyrics:
Live Nation blames it largely on bots: From his opening statement to responses to senators' questions, Berchtold stressed the problem of bots and industrial scalping of tickets, which he claims also caused the Swift tickets fiasco.
Republicans, Democrats, artists and others all appeared to agree Live Nation is the anti-hero: Clyde Lawrence, an artist on the witness panel, explained how the company acts as a promoter, a venue and the ticketing company, which can eat into performing artists' revenues while also escalating ticket price for consumers. Bipartisan agreement on any issue is hard to come by, but as Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal noted, Live Nation managed to bring them all together.
No easy answers: The ability to resell tickets can be a useful for customers who need to change plans. But it can also help prop up the scalping industry. With that in mind, lawmakers discussed whether restricting the ability to transfer tickets would help. Live Nation was in favor of this, but the CEO of a rival platform, SeatGeek, said this might only entrench Live Nation's dominance, as it holds the kind of market share that would force consumers to solely transact there in the absence of any other resale market option.
A losing ticket for consumers: When there is less competition in a market, there is lesser incentive for businesses to innovate, experts say Customers pay the price for alleged monopolistic acts with higher ticket prices and fees, lower quality and less choice and less innovation, antitrust expert Kathleen Bradish told lawmakers.