WASHINGTON – In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, the CEO of Live Nation Entertainment offered an apology and an apology for the now infamous Taylor Swift’s ticket debacle of the end of last year.
“We apologize to the fans, we apologize to Ms. Swift, we have to do better and we will do better,” said Joe Berchtold, who also blamed the crash on what he says was an unprecedented cyber attack.
“For the first time in 400 verified fans for sale, our fan password verified servers also came next,” Berchtold said. “Although the bots failed to break into our systems to capture any tickets, the attack required us to slow down and even suspend our sales.”
Senators on both sides of the aisle didn’t seem entirely convinced that the industry giant shouldn’t be dominated.
“You have to have competition,” said Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). “You can’t have too much consolidation, something that unfortunately for this country – as an ode to Taylor Swift – I’ll say we know all too well.”
“You are forcing them to become your customers in order for them to take possession of this ticket,” Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) said. “I have to tell you: from a competition point of view, this really worries me a lot.”
These sentiments were echoed, not surprisingly, by one of Ticketmaster’s minor competitors.
“The only effective remedy now is structural: the dissolution of joint ownership of Ticketmaster and Live Nation,” said Jack Groetzinger, CEO of SeatGeek. “To improve our industry, we need to restore competition.”
At the hearing, Berchtold vowed to work with Congress to improve the fan experience and called on lawmakers to crack down more on fraudulent ticketing practices.