US Senate Subpoenas Live Nation for Documents on Ticketmaster Pricing, Service Fees

The entertainment conglomerate allegedly hasn't fully complied with the Senate's inquiry, citing a lack of confidentiality measures

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Nov 20, 2023

At the beginning of the year, concert giant Live Nation was subject to scrutiny at a US Senate Hearing following the chaotic presale for Taylor Swift's initial Eras Tour dates. A couple months later, the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI) launched an inquiry over the company's "business practices, including the prices and fees for tickets to live events sold by Live Nation/Ticketmaster" — and they've now subpoenaed the entertainment conglomerate.

Rolling Stone obtained the subpoena addressed to Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino, alleging that the company has failed to comply with the Subcommittee's requests. "Despite nearly eight months and extensive efforts to obtain voluntary compliance, Live Nation/Ticketmaster has failed to fully comply with PSI's requests, including refusing to produce certain documents critical to the Subcommittee's inquiry," Senator Richard Blumenthal wrote. 

He continued, ​"Live Nation has egregiously stonewalled my Subcommittee's inquiry into its abusive consumer practices — making the subpoena necessary. This subpoena demands that the company promptly comply with our request for documents essential to understand its business practices. American consumers deserve fair ticket prices, without hidden fees or predatory charges. And the American public deserves to know how Ticketmaster's unfair practices may be enabled by its misuse of monopoly power."

According to Blumenthal's staff, the subpoena is seeking additional documentation pertaining to "resale practices as well as the company's relationship with artists and venues." More specifically, this includes annual financial data related to service fees, guidance/recommendations for pricing tickets, business strategies and analyses, communications related to high-profile incidents with bots, and customer survey data about ticket pricing and fees.

"Live Nation has voluntarily worked with the Subcommittee from the start, providing extensive information and holding several meetings with staff," a spokesperson for the company said. "In order to provide additional information requested about artist and client compensation and other similarly sensitive matters, we've asked for standard confidentiality measures. Thus far the Subcommittee has refused to provide such assurances, but if and when those protections are in place we will provide additional information on these issues."

Unless the company produces the documents by December 18, Rapino is called to appear before the Subcommittee on that same date.

Back in September, Live Nation made moves to gain goodwill by announcing that merch cuts would be dropped at the company's venues and that a $1,500 USD stipend would be paid to club-level acts for travel expenses on top of their nightly performance compensation. This was after Ticketmaster and SeatGeek promised transparency relating to additional service fees on top of ticket prices following a visit to the White House in June.

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