Tennessee AG investigating Taylor Swift ticket chaos

Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti launched an antitrust investigation into Ticketmaster after customers reported widespread issues purchasing tickets in a presale event for an upcoming Taylor Swift tour.

Skrmetti said at a Wednesday press conference there were no allegations to make at this time but he was concerned with the reported issues.

“We received a number of complaints and there’s been significant press coverage that the ticket sale process did not go smoothly,” the attorney general said, according to ABC affiliate station WATE, which is owned by Nexstar (Nexstar also owns The Hill).

“It’s my job to ensure that the consumer protection laws and antitrust laws in Tennessee are being honored,” Skrmetti added.

The Ticketmaster website crashed or froze for many users on Tuesday as customers flocked to buy tickets for Swift’s upcoming “The Eras Tour,” which is the singer’s first since 2018.

Following the complaints, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) called for the break-up of Ticketmaster and Live Nation, which merged in 2010 to become Live Nation Entertainment and now dominates the venue and ticket sale business for live music.

“Daily reminder that Ticketmaster is a monopoly,” the lawmaker tweeted.

In a Tuesday update, Ticketmaster said there was an “historically unprecedented demand” for the Swift tickets and that it was working to move through queues as fast as possible. They added that hundreds of thousands of ticket purchases have been completed.

Skrmetti said he was launching the antitrust investigation because Tennessee, the birthplace of country music, is a huge music market.

The attorney general also noted that Live Nation Entertainment dominates about 70 percent of the live music industry, according to WATE.

“Anytime you have that kind of concentration of market share, there’s the risk that the lack of competition will not just drive up prices for consumers,” he said, “it will also reduce the quality of the product.”

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