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Swiftie fury at Ticketmaster prompts congressional responses

As the debacle over Ticketmaster's bungled handling of ticket presales for Taylor Swift's "Eras" tour continues this week, Swifties across the country can take heart that their frustration has not gone unnoticed by those in a position to actually do something about it: members of Congress. 

The uproar from one of pop music's most rabidly dedicated fandoms over the ticket distribution giant's choppy rollout for Swift's upcoming tour has led lawmakers from the House and Senate to chime in. They've used the occasion to point out Ticketmaster's near-total dominance in its field, and the regulatory failings they claim contributed to the Swift sale meltdown. 

As several of the lawmakers noted in their statements, Ticketmaster's 2010 merger with Live Nation created what's been frequently regarded as a monopoly over the entertainment industry wherein it now serves as the sole sales platform for many live events. In a class action suit filed against the company in early 2022, Ticketmaster and its parent company Live Nation Entertainment is described as a "monster" that "must be stopped," and which has acted against earlier court settlements while making it exorbitantly difficult for other vendors to compete in the ticket sales market. 

Swifties are hardly the first fandom to go after Ticketmaster for its grip on ticket distribution. Between 1994 and 1995, Pearl Jam led fans in a 14-month boycott of the company, only to partner with Ticketmaster two decades later during their 2018 North American tour. 

As Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) noted in a follow-up tweet to his initial Swiftie complaint, he and several other Democratic lawmakers have a standing call for the Justice Department to investigate Ticketmaster and its parent company for "efforts to jack up prices and strangle competition."