Tricounty News

Klobuchar Examines Consequences for Consumers of Proposed Ticketmaster/Live Nation Merger

During Judiciary Committee hearing, Klobuchar examines proposed merger and problems associated with ticket resellers    Washington, D.C.-Today, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar questioned witnesses at a Judiciary Committee hearing to examine the consequences for consumers of the proposed merger between Ticketmaster and Live Nation.  Klobuchar questioned experts and executives from Ticketmaster and Live Nation about the effects of the potential merger on competition in the music industry and ticket prices for live concerts.    "The music industry-and live music, in particular-is important to Minnesota," said Klobuchar.  "We particularly like to listen to live music, whether it's at larger venues, like the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul or at small music venues, such as the Minneapolis club 'First Avenue.'  Consumers deserve to know how the proposed merger between Ticketmaster and Live Nation will affect them."    Klobuchar also asked about the problems associated with ticket resellers-where ordinary consumers get shut out of the ticket market, only to be directed to reseller sites, where ticket brokers sell tickets for significantly more than the face value.     This problem happened earlier this month when tickets to a Bruce Springsteen concert in New Jersey became available on Ticketmaster's website.  Shortly after the tickets were offered for sale, Ticketmaster informed fans that the Springsteen tickets were sold out and then Ticketmaster guided these fans to a secondary site which Ticketmaster owns, called Tickets Now.  The cost of the Springsteen tickets on that site cost between $200 and $5,000, while the face value of the Springsteen tickets started at $54.    A similar problem took place in Minnesota in 2007 when, within minutes of going on-sale at ticketmaster.com, ticket brokers swooped up tickets for the Hannah Montana concert at the Target Center in Minneapolis forcing parents to go on reseller sites, where they would have had to pay brokers anywhere between $350 to $2,000 for the $63 concert ticket.    In response, Minnesota passed the "Hannah Montana law," which bans the use of automated software designed to quickly purchase numerous tickets in a matter of seconds.