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Pascrell: Live Nation Hearing Shows Desperate Need for Ticket Reforms

Compelling testimonies against establish abuses of Ticketmaster monopoly

U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), lead sponsor of legislation to reform the ticket industry, praised the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the lack of competition in the live events ticket market.

“You don’t see it every day, but Democrats and Republicans are together in outrage about the abuses of Ticketmaster,” said Rep. Pascrell. “The hearing today in the Senate established in clear testimony that Live Nation/Ticketmaster abuses its monopoly power and the absolute need to finally impose regulation on live events ticketing. In particular, the testimony by Clyde Lawrence was especially brave and compelling in demonstrating how Live Nation’s abusive power harms artists as well as fans. I thank Senators Klobuchar, Durbin, Blumenthal and the committee members who seemingly all recognized the badly broken market. The time for reform is here. Let Congress and the Biden administration seize it. We must break up this monopoly once and for all.”

On March 22, 2022, Rep. Pascrell wrote to the heads of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Antitrust Division urging them to overhaul federal guidelines to make it easier to overturn bad mergers. As part of the agencies’ joint inquiry into modernizing merger regulations, Pascrell flagged the Live Nation-Ticketmaster as a “posterchild of consolidation gone bad” and urged its dissolution.

Pascrell has been a leader in Congress calling for regulation of the opaque live events ticket market. Pascrell was an early critic of the Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger, and repeatedly urged the Obama administration to reject it, warning that the union would crush competition and harm consumers. In May 2018, Pascrell wrote an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times on his attempts to impose greater positive regulation on the broken live events ticket market.

Two months later, Reps. Pascrell and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ-06) wrote a letter to Federal Trade Commission chairman Joseph Simons highlighting a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study which found a myriad of consumer protection and competition issues in the primary and secondary live event ticket markets. The GAO report was commissioned in response to Pallone and Pascrell’s work, and the members urged Simons to do more to protect consumers in the marketplace. In response, the FTC organized a workshop on event tickets held in June 2019 to review many of the challenges faced by ticket-buying fans. Pascrell attended a House Energy and Commerce Committee oversight hearing in early 2020 on the lack of transparency in the ticket marketplace.

For several Congresses, Pascrell has been the principal sponsor of the BOSS Act, overarching legislation that would impose a basic level of transparency upon the ticket industry so fans have a fair chance to purchase tickets on the primary market and also seeks to protect consumers who choose to use the secondary market to purchase tickets. Pascrell is working to reintroduce the legislation this year. A full section-by-section breakdown of a prior version of the BOSS Act is available here.

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