The White House on Taylor Swift’s Ticketmaster Disaster: Capitalism Without Competition Exploitation

White House Press Secretary Karen Jean-Pierre answers questions during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, August 9, 2022.

Evelyn Hochstein | Reuters

White House Press Secretary Karen Jean-Pierre noted that US President Joe Biden has little sympathy for Ticketmaster’s parent company. live nation, which is said to be facing an antitrust investigation over the fiasco Taylor Swift fans faced in their attempt to snag seats in the upcoming IRAs tour.

Jean-Pierre, who declined to comment on “any potential investigation” by the Justice Department, said Biden has been clear about how he feels about companies that maintain monopolies.

“He was very clear about this,” Jean-Pierre said on Friday. And I quote: “Capitalism without competition is not capitalism, it is exploitation.”

Biden later tweeted that his administration is doing everything it can to lower so-called junk fees, including fees charged to see a show during the holidays.

Ticketmaster, part of Live Nation, is facing scrutiny for rolling out Taylor Swift concert tickets.

Liberty Media CEO, Live Nation’s largest shareholder Greg Maffei, said the pre-show was only supposed to be open to about 1.5 verified Swifities, but 14 million people, including bots, have descended on the site to purchase tickets. After this week’s chaotic release, Ticketmaster has announced that it will not be selling tickets for its “Eras” tour to the public on Friday as planned.

Demand for her tour tickets has increased with the recent release of her album “Midnights” and the fact that Swift hasn’t toured since 2018. Her “Lover Fest” tour was canceled due to the pandemic. Swift criticized the offering in an Instagram post.

“It’s really amazing that 2.4 million people got tickets, but what really bothers me is so many of them feeling like they’ve been subjected to numerous bear attacks to get them,” Swift wrote.

The New York Times reported on Friday that the Justice Department has opened an antitrust investigation into Live Nation after the fiasco. The company has previously found itself under pressure from regulators for monopolistic practices. Live Nation Entertainment is a merger between Ticketmaster and Live Nation in 2010. It was approved by the Department of Justice at the time but the company has been repeatedly accused of abusing market power by raising ticket prices and adding arbitrary fees.

Biden has been actively pushing for more competition across industries. The Department of Justice recently blocked publisher Penguin Random House from buying Simon & Schuster. The administration also announced plans two weeks ago to crack down on “unwanted charges”.

Lawmakers have also called on the Justice Department to investigate the company.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. , in a tweet on Tuesday: “Daily reminder that Ticketmaster is a monopoly.” “The merger with LiveNation should never have been approved, and they should be controlled. Break them up.”

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D, is chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights. Klobuchar sent a letter to Ticketmaster President and CEO Michael Rapinoe, asking him to respond to questions about alleged anti-competitive methods by the company.

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