Ticketmaster has been facing an onslaught of anger from Taylor Swift’s fans this week as sales open for her first tour in five years. But what many Swifties don’t realize that Ticketmaster’s power in the concert marketplace is anticompetitive—and can be addressed by Congress and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) right now.
This is one of the clearest examples of an antitrust violation we have in America today. Ticketmaster and its parent company, LiveNation, control access to top venues, 80 percent of the ticketing sales market, and the second largest share of the ticket resale market. One company dominates most of the primary ticket market, and that same company controls leading talent and venues. Ticketmaster is charging skyrocketing fees but has little incentive to provide high-quality services for customers as we’re seeing with this Taylor Swift debacle.
The existing consumer welfare standard of antitrust policy is designed to deal with this, and Ticketmaster’s behavior likely meets its requirements. Should policymakers wish to address this, the FTC and DOJ could bring such a case right now. But instead, the Biden administration and progressives in Congress are too busy attacking the competitive and dynamic tech industry and calling for drastic, subjective changes to antitrust law to focus on the real harms American consumers face.
“Congress and progressives like Amy Klobuchar are spending all this time going after tech leaders including Meta, Google, Amazon and Apple, which are far from monopolies. But Klobuchar’s antitrust proposal, the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (AICOA), would do nothing to address a real, active, consumer-harming monopoly—Ticketmaster,” said NetChoice Policy Counsel Jennifer Huddleston.
“Congress and the FTC have wasted their time and taxpayer money trying to radically change antitrust laws and filing meritless lawsuits against companies like Meta, which are operating in highly competitive environments,” added Huddleston. “Instead, the government should use existing resources and laws to protect consumers and investigate Ticketmaster’s anti-competitive practices in the concert marketplace.”
While progressive policymakers currently ignore consumer harm and increasing fees to consumers and pursue radical changes to competition policy to go after companies based on political preferences, real monopolies like Ticketmaster are costing fans every day.
The Biden administration and Congress should start by using their existing authority to investigate real cases of consumer harm as has been done in antitrust law for the past 40 years.