Durbin Delivers Opening Statement During Judiciary Committee Hearing On Problems In America’s Ticketing & Live Entertainment Markets

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today delivered an opening statement at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing examining the lack of competition in the ticketing industry titled, “That’s the Ticket: Promoting Competition and Protecting Consumers in Live Entertainment.” 

Key quotes:

“Live event ticketing garnered a lot of attention in the end of 2022.  Most notably, in November, Ticketmaster’s systems failed during the pre-sale for Taylor Swift’s new tour, leaving millions of fans stuck in virtual queues for hours waiting to buy tickets.”

“While Ticketmaster and its parent company Live Nation Entertainment have offered explanations for these issues, these issues are symptomatic, I think, of a larger problem.”

“The ticketing and live entertainment markets lack competition and they are dominated by a single entity: Live Nation.  Live Nation merged with Ticketmaster in 2010 in a deal that joined the country’s largest ticketing company with its largest event promoter.”

“The Justice Department and attorneys general from many states—including my home state of Illinois—sued to block the merger.  The plaintiffs ultimately allowed the merger to go through, but put in place a consent decree with a set of conditions and divestitures designed to ensure competition in the ticketing and live entertainment markets.”

“Unfortunately, that consent decree does not appear to have been effective.  In the decade-plus since the merger, Live Nation has consolidated its dominant position in the ticketing and live entertainment markets, and the result is a competition killing strategy that has left artists and fans paying the price.”

“Before turning to Senator Graham, I’d like to thank Senator Klobuchar, who has brought competition policy to the forefront of our national conversation as Chair of the Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights, and also thank her Ranking Member, Senator Mike Lee of Utah.”

“Senator Klobuchar and Senator Lee asked for this hearing and have led the effort in putting it together. They have assembled an expert panel of witnesses who will discuss how the ticketing and live entertainment markets became so concentrated, to the detriment of consumers; the impacts of that concentration; and the steps we need to take to bring competition back.” 

Video of Durbin’s opening statement is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s opening statement is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s opening statement is available here for TV Stations.