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Although it may be hard to believe, the curious duo of Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) and Taylor Swift went viral in the last few hours at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee. After the controversy with the tickets for the singer’s tour, which resulted in a general dissatisfaction of all the “swifties”, the CEO of Ticketmaster had to give explanations in the Upper House. It was at that hearing that John Kennedy starred in one of the exchanges with the most repercussion in social media.
In November 2022, the popular singer-songwriter announced her first tour after five years, The Eras Tour, which included 20 cities and 52 concerts throughout the United States. Ticket sales were handled by Live Nation Entertainment, Ticketmaster, which apparently did not handle the sales process very well.
At the time, millions and millions of fans tried to buy tickets, but many were inexplicably kicked off the website and the strong demand meant that Ticketmaster had to cancel the sale. According to the company, the source of all the problems was bots.
“The staggering number of bot attacks, as well as fans who did not have invitation codes, generated unprecedented traffic to our site, resulting in 3.5 billion total system requests, 4 times our previous peak,” they said.
Frustrated, Swift herself assured that she was “not going to make excuses for anyone,” since she had been assured that the company would be able to handle the demand for tickets. The scandal was such that the Senate Judiciary Committee picked up the gauntlet and initiated an investigation against Ticketmaster.
The company reportedly controls more than 70% of the market share of primary ticketing services for major U.S. concerts and does not have the best reputation among its competitors.
“Innovation in live event ticketing has been stunted because Live Nation Entertainment Inc. controls the most popular entertainers in the world, the ticketing systems, and even many of the venues. This power over the entire live entertainment industry allows Live Nation to maintain its monopolistic influence over the primary ticketing market,” said Jack Groetzinger, co-founder and CEO of SeatGeek.
Kennedy and another viral moment in the Senate, this time talking about Taylor Swift
When his turn came, the Louisiana senator went straight to the bone: “The way your company handled the ticket sales for Miss Swift was a debacle. (…) You want to hold down prices: cut out the middlemen and the middlewome; you want to cut out bots; make it non-transferable or transferable only at price.”
He then asked Ticketmaster executives whether they “do you support non-transferability or not?” After a positive response, Kennedy celebrated that much of the problem had just been solved.
His intervention did not end there. The legislator provided another series of recommendations to protect fans and encouraged popular artists to come out in favor of non-transferability of tickets. “If you care about the consumer, you’re going to hold the price down. if you care about the consumer, cap the price. cut out the bots. Cut out the middle people. if you really care about the consumer, give the consumer a break,” Kennedy continued.
“Not every kid can afford $500 to go see Taylor Swift and I’d like to see Miss Swift or Mr Springsteen or some of the other major artists step up and say you know what we’re going to support non-transferability and we’re going to cap the fees that are added on here,” he added.
His exchange with company executives accumulated more than half a million views in just two days. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) also enjoyed his viral moment. At the beginning of his speech, he celebrated the fact that the issue is common to both Republicans and Democrats. Later, he was encouraged to quote Taylor Swift herself. “May I suggest respectfully that Ticketmaster ought to look in the mirror and say, ‘I’m the problem. It’s me,” he slipped in a reference to the song Anti-Hero.
Joaquín Núñez es licenciado en comunicación periodística por la Universidad Católica Argentina. Se especializa en el escenario internacional y en la política nacional norteamericana. Confeso hincha de Racing Club de Avellaneda. Contacto: [email protected] // Joaquín Núñez has a degree in journalistic communication from the Universidad Católica Argentina. He specializes in the international scene and national American politics. Confessed fan of Racing Club of Avellaneda. Contact: [email protected]