WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights, and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced legislation to improve competition in live event ticketing markets. Today’s primary ticketing market is dominated by one company that by some estimates has locked up 70 to 80 percent market share and has used its dominance to pressure venues to agree to ticketing contracts that last up to ten years, insulating it from competition.
The Unlock Ticketing Markets Act would help restore competition to live event ticketing markets by empowering the Federal Trade Commission to prevent the use of excessively long multi-year exclusive contracts that lock out competitors, decrease incentives to innovate new services, and increase costs for fans.
“Right now, one company is leveraging its power to lock venues into exclusive contracts that last up to ten years, ensuring there is no room for potential competitors to get their foot in the door,” said Klobuchar. “Without competition to incentivize better services and fair prices, we all suffer the consequences. The Unlock Ticketing Markets Act would help consumers, artists, and independent venue operators alike by making sure primary ticketing companies face pressure to innovate and improve.”
"Consumers deserve protection against the clear excesses and abuses of Ticketmaster repeatedly demonstrated in their own lives and documented in Congressional hearings. This legislation is a step toward basic fairness that everyone deserves - consumers, artists, venues, and others - against a sad and repugnant history of putting its profits above them. Free and fair markets depend on competition which is the least concertgoers, artists, and independent venues deserve," said Blumenthal.
Earlier this year, Klobuchar and Senator Mike Lee, Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights, organized a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing after reports of significant service failures and delays on Ticketmaster’s website in November left fans unable to purchase concert tickets for Taylor Swift’s new tour.
In February 2023, Klobuchar and Lee sent evidence from their hearing to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and called on the DOJ to continue examining Live Nation and Ticketmaster’s anticompetitive conduct.
In November 2022, Klobuchar wrote a letter to Ticketmaster expressing concern about the lack of competition in the ticketing industry and questioning whether the company is taking necessary steps to provide the best service it can to consumers.
Klobuchar and Blumenthal have long led efforts to preserve competition in the live entertainment industry. In April 2020, they and Cory Booker (D-NJ) urged the Department of Justice (DOJ) Antitrust Division to take action to ensure small and independent venues can compete on a level playing field in the live entertainment marketplace. In August 2019, they called on the DOJ Antitrust Division to investigate the state of competition in the ticketing marketplace, given news reports that Ticketmaster-Live Nation was not adhering to the conditions of the antitrust consent decree governing its merger.