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Senate panel subpoenas Live Nation in newly announced probe into ticket prices, fees

A Senate panel Monday issued a subpoena to Live Nation for documents related to the company’s ticket pricing, fees and resale practices, as part of a previously undisclosed probe into Live Nation’s business tactics.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), chair of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI), said in a press release that the subpoena comes after a months-long probe, which he claimed has been “stonewalled” by Live Nation, making the subpoena necessary.

“Live Nation has egregiously stonewalled my Subcommittee’s inquiry into its abusive consumer practices — making the subpoena necessary,” Blumenthal said. “This subpoena demands that the company promptly comply with our request for documents essential to understand its business practices.”

Blumenthal said the panel launched its investigation after several high-profile incidents, including those that involved fans of Taylor Swift and Bruce Springsteen. A separate panel, the Senate Judiciary Committee, held its own hearings on the business practices of the company.

“American consumers deserve fair ticket prices, without hidden fees or predatory charges,” Blumenthal added. “And the American public deserves to know how Ticketmaster’s unfair practices may be enabled by its misuse of monopoly power.”

The subpoena issued requests a wide range of material, including documents and internal communications related to Live Nation’s and Ticketmaster’s ticket pricing, fees and resale practices. The committee also requested material on the company’s relationship with artists and venues, according to the press release.

The subpoena included requests for annual financial data on fees, recommendations for ticket pricing, secondary ticketing, communications related to high-profile incidents last year and customer feedback on pricing and fees.  

The panel specified in the subpoena that it required all records related to the company’s “failure to combat artificially inflated demand fueled by bots in multiple, high-profile incidents, which resulted in consumers being charged exorbitant ticket prices.”

In a statement to The Hill, a spokesperson for Live Nation denied allegations that it was stonewalling the panel, saying the company “has voluntarily worked with the Subcommittee from the start, providing extensive information and holding several meetings with staff.”

The spokesperson for Live Nation claimed that the company is asking for “standard confidentiality measures” in order to provide some of the information the panel is requesting — namely about “artist and client compensation and other similarly sensitive matters.”

“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,” the spokesperson said.

The Hill has reached out to the Senate panel for a response.  

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