Breakup of Ticketmaster and Live Nation urged during Senate hearing
Ticketmaster knew the platform would be attacked by bots when Taylor Swift tickets were being made available to "verified fans" in November.
"We were hit by three times the amount of bot traffic than we had ever experienced," said Joe Berchtold, president and CEO of Live Nation Entertainment. "And for the first time in 400 verified fan on-sales, they came after our verified fan password servers as well."
Berchtold made his comments on Tuesday before the U.S. Senate on the Judiciary, which held a special hearing about "promoting competition and protecting consumers in live entertainment."
"This is what led to a terrible consumer experience, which we deeply regret," Berchtold told committee members. "In hindsight, there are several things we could have done better."
Swift's tour is set to visit the area in May, for three shows at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia and three shows at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford.
The live event experience has become out of reach financially for many fans, according to federal lawmakers. Most average fans don't have a decent shot at snagging tickets to in-demand shows unless they've been picked up by bots and immediately thrown onto the resale market at a higher price.
Much of Tuesday's three-hour hearing focused on the shift in the market after Live Nation and Ticketmaster joined forces in 2010.
"We are very interested in actually doing something," said U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).
Berchtold agreed that "something" can be done to limit customer frustration, such as prohibiting second-hand sellers from listing tickets before the public on-sale date, and mandating that fans see the full cost of tickets from the start of the purchase process.
But others used Tuesday's meeting to call for bolder moves.
Jack Groetzinger, co-founder and CEO of the ticket platform SeatGeek, said the industry will continue to lack competition, and consumers will continue to suffer, as long as Live Nation "remains both the dominant concert promoter and ticketer of major venues in the U.S."
"The only way to restore competition in this industry is to break up Ticketmaster and Live Nation," Groetzinger said.
According to Groetzinger and others who testified before the Senate committee on Tuesday, major venues fear they'd lose out on Live Nation shows by using platforms besides Ticketmaster for their ticket sales.