Feds Subpoena Ticketmaster Over Egregious Concert Prices After It ‘Stonewalled’ Lawmakers

ticketmaster logo

Image Credit: Getty Images

A Senate subcommittee announced on Monday that it has issued a subpoena to ticket-selling giant Ticketmaster and its parent company Live Nation Entertainment after the company  refused to fully cooperate with a months-long investigation into its pricing mechanisms. 

The investigation was previously unannounced, but follows a series of incidents over the last year—including disastrous ticket sales for Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour—when tickets sold on the website reached prices so egregious that average customers could afford them.

In a letter to Live Nation Entertainment last week, the chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI) Richard Blumenthal wrote that the subpoena “seeks records related to Live Nation/Ticketmaster’s failure to combat artificially inflated demand fueled by bots in multiple, high-profile incidents, which resulted in consumers being charged exorbitant ticket prices.” 

Motherboard has previously reported on Ticketmaster’s problems with ticket brokers and bots. This is due to the company’s “dynamic pricing” algorithm, which increases ticket prices based on the demand for those tickets. When bots automatically buy up tickets as soon as they are released, the algorithm interprets the quick sales as high demand, and drives up prices to astronomical levels, driving customers to either pay tens of thousands of dollars for a ticket or turn to ticket reselling sites


After facing criticism from both fans and politicians for its failed handling of Taylor Swift ticket sales, Live Nation Entertainment announced a “Fair Ticketing Act” proposal in February that would try to combat bots and ticket scalpers in the resale market. Nothing yet appears to have come from this proposal.

Blumenthal wrote in his letter to Live Nation Entertainment CEO Michael Rapino that the subpoena was “in connection with [the committee’s] inquiry into Live Nation/Ticketmaster’s business practices, including the prices and fees for tickets to live events sold by Live Nation/Ticketmaster,” which began almost eight months ago but was unannounced.

“PSI first wrote to Live Nation/Ticketmaster on March 24, 2023, seeking documents and information in connection with this inquiry,” Blumenthal’s letter continued. “Despite nearly eight months and extensive efforts to obtain voluntary compliance, Live Nation/Ticketmaster has failed to fully comply with PSI’s requests, including refusing to produce certain documents critical to the Subcommittee’s inquiry.” 

A Live Nation Entertainment spokesperson told Motherboard in an emailed statement, “Live Nation has voluntarily worked with the Subcommittee for many months, and we’ve already provided over 10,000 documents and held several meetings with staff. The subcommittee is seeking additional information about how artists set prices and venues determine fees, but we do not feel comfortable sharing this information without standard confidentiality measures. Thus far the Subcommittee has refused to provide such assurances, but if and when those protections are in place we will provide additional information on these topics.” 

The spokesperson said the company was committed to working with the Senate, and that there were “many paths to improve ticket buying—including letting artists determine resale rules, mandating all-in pricing nationwide, banning speculative ticket selling and more.”

“Live Nation has egregiously stonewalled my Subcommittee’s inquiry into its abusive consumer practices—making the subpoena necessary,” Blumenthal wrote in a thread on X when the subpoena was publicly announced. “American consumers deserve fair ticket prices, without hidden fees or predatory charges. And the American public deserves to know how Ticketmaster’s unfair practices may be enabled by its misuse of monopoly power.” 

Live Nation and Ticketmaster, the two biggest ticket sellers in the U.S., merged in 2010 to become Live Nation Entertainment. The company also currently faces a potential antitrust lawsuit by the Department of Justice, after a Senate Judicial Committee hearing in January cast it as a “monopoly.”


You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress | Designed by: Premium WordPress Themes | Thanks to Themes Gallery, Bromoney and Wordpress Themes