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Senate subpoenas Live Nation and Ticketmaster amid investigation

by SuperiorInvest

Michael Rapino, CEO of Live Nation.

Scott Mlyn | CNBC

A Senate investigative subcommittee said Monday it issued a subpoena for Nation’s Live Entertainment and its subsidiary Ticketmaster for information on ticket prices and fees after a months-long, previously unannounced investigation.

The subpoena “seeks records related to Live Nation/Ticketmaster’s failure to combat artificially inflated demand driven by robots in multiple high-profile incidents, which resulted in consumers being charged exorbitant prices for tickets,” the president said. of the subcommittee, Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat. Connecticut, he wrote in a letter to Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino.

In a statement Monday, Blumenthal said, “Live Nation has egregiously blocked my Subcommittee’s investigation into its abusive consumer practices, making the subpoena necessary.”

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“American consumers deserve fair prices on tickets, without hidden fees or predatory charges,” Blumenthal said. “And the American public deserves to know how Ticketmaster’s unfair practices may be aided by its misuse of monopoly power.”

A Live Nation spokesperson, in an email to CNBC, said: “Live Nation has voluntarily worked with the Subcommittee from the beginning, providing extensive information and holding several meetings with staff.”

“To provide the additional information requested regarding artist and client compensation and other equally sensitive matters, we have requested standard confidentiality measures,” the company spokesperson said. “So far, the Subcommittee has declined to provide such assurances, but when those protections are in place, we will provide additional information on these issues.”

Live Nation, an event promoter, and ticket provider Ticketmaster now control 70% of the live event ticket and venue market after their merger more than a decade ago.

The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations opened its investigation in March after a controversy over glitches in ticket sales and pricing for Taylor Swift and Bruce Springsteen concerts, according to Blumenthal’s panel.

The new subpoena seeks internal documents and communications regarding “ticket prices, fees and resale practices, as well as the company’s relationship with artists and venues,” according to the panel.

“The request covers annual financial data related to fares, the company’s recommendations for ticket pricing, business strategies regarding ticket pricing, secondary ticketing and bots, communications related to incidents of profile in 2022, and customer research and surveys on ticket prices and fares,” the panel said.

Blumenthal, in his letter to Rapino last week containing the subpoena, wrote: “Despite nearly eight months and extensive efforts to obtain voluntary compliance, Live Nation/Ticketmaster has not fully complied with PSI’s requests, including refusal to present certain critical documents”. to the Subcommittee’s investigation.”

This summer, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on Live Nation and the lack of competition in the primary and secondary event ticketing markets.

“I just want to dispel this notion that this is not a monopoly and that we can look for solutions from there,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said at that hearing.

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