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Senate panel issues subpoenas over Taylor Swift ticket sales debacle

A Senate subcommittee issued a subpoena to Live Nation and its Ticketmaster subsidiary, as they start to investigate the ticket prices and fees following Taylor Swift concert sales issues. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
A Senate subcommittee issued a subpoena to Live Nation and its Ticketmaster subsidiary, as they start to investigate the ticket prices and fees following Taylor Swift concert sales issues. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI

Nov. 20 (UPI) -- A Senate subcommittee issued a subpoena Monday to Live Nation and its Ticketmaster subsidiary, as part of an ongoing investigation into ticket prices and fees following last year's Taylor Swift and Bruce Springsteen concert sales debacles.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., who is also the chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, said the subpoena comes after Live Nation "stonewalled" their months-long investigation, which was announced Monday.

"Live Nation has egregiously stonewalled my subcommittee's inquiry into its abusive consumer practices -- making the subpoena necessary," Blumenthal said in a statement Monday. "This subpoena demands that the company promptly comply with our request for documents essential to understand its business practices."

Live Nation is an event promoter and Ticketmaster is a ticket vendor that both control about 70% of the market for live event venues following their 2010 merger.

"American consumers deserve fair ticket prices, without hidden fees or predatory charges," Blumenthal added. "And the American public deserves to know how Ticketmaster's unfair practices may be enabled by its misuse of monopoly power."

A Senate subcommittee issued a subpoena to Live Nation and its Ticketmaster subsidiary, as they start to investigate the ticket prices and fees following Bruce Springsteen concert sales issues. File Photo by Oliver Contreras/UPI
A Senate subcommittee issued a subpoena to Live Nation and its Ticketmaster subsidiary, as they start to investigate the ticket prices and fees following Bruce Springsteen concert sales issues. File Photo by Oliver Contreras/UPI

The Senate subcommittee announced Monday that it began its investigation in March, following a number of sales glitches and complaints about ticket prices for Taylor Swift and Bruce Springsteen concerts.

In a letter to Live Nation, 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."

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, accuses Live Nation of "stonewalling" their months-long investigation into last year's Taylor Swift and Bruce Springsteen concert sales debacles. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, accuses Live Nation of "stonewalling" their months-long investigation into last year's Taylor Swift and Bruce Springsteen concert sales debacles. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI

"The request covers annual financial data related to fees, the company's recommendations for ticket pricing, business strategies regarding ticket pricing, secondary ticketing, and bots, communications relating to high-profile incidents in 2022, and customer research and surveys regarding ticket pricing and fees," the panel said.

In a letter to Live Nation chief executive officer Michael Rapino last week, Blumenthal wrote, "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 spokesperson for Live Nation said, "Live Nation has voluntarily worked with the subcommittee from the start, providing extensive information and holding several meetings with staff," according to an email to CNBC.

"In order to provide additional information requested about artist and client compensation and other similarly sensitive matters, we've asked for standard confidentiality measures," the Live Nation spokesperson added. "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 issues."