Ticketmaster’s Botched Sale Of Taylor Swift Tickets ‘Converted Gen Zers Into Anti-Monopolists,’ FTC Chairman Says

CARSON, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 01: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO COMMERCIAL USE) Taylor Swift performs onstage at 2019 iHeartRadio Wango Tango presented by The JUVÉDERM® Collection of Dermal Fillers at Dignity Health Sports Park on June 01, 2019 in Carson, California. (Photo by
Rich Fury/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

Zoomers — members of Generation Z, meaning Americans born from the late 1990s to the early 2010s — aren’t big readers.

A 2019 survey by the National Literacy Trust found that just 26% of people below the age of 18 spent at least some time each day reading, the lowest level since records began in 2005.

But the Gen Z kids got a real lesson last month when they logged onto their laptops and tried to buy tickets to Taylor Swift concerts.

The presale for the singer’s upcoming Eras Tour concerts was a debacle. Ticketmaster crashed, buyers hoping to snag tickets at face value (instead of sky-high prices jacked up by after-market scalpers) were on hold for hours, and eventually, the whole mess was called off.

Lina Khan, chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, said Ticketmaster’s disastrous sale reverberated in the Gen Z world. “I think this one incident ended up converting more Gen Zers into anti-monopolists overnight than anything I could have done.”

Speaking at The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit, Khan noted that the Justice Department approved the merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation in 2010, creating a monolith that controls much of the live concert ticketing and venues across America.

“There can be concerns that when firms become large they can become too big to care,” she added, saying giant firms may feel no need to invest in innovation because they do not face tough competition.

The Swift mess prompted the Department of Justice to announce it is opening a probe into the monopoly.

But Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts wrote a letter to the attorney general saying that’s not enough, noting “an investigation alone does nothing for the stakeholders already harmed by Live Nation’s market dominance and seemingly ongoing anticompetitive behavior.”

They argued the company, which controls about 60% of the market — including many of the biggest venues — “has continued to abuse its dominant market position,” and the senators said, “we urge the Department to consider unwinding the Ticketmaster-Live Nation merger and breaking up the company.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), one of the younger members of Congress, jumped in with some insightful observations.

“I was watching what was going on with the pre-release of Taylor Swift’s tickets,” she told Rolling Stone. “It came up on a more personal level; I actually have quite a few staff who were trying to get tickets that day.”

“Between seeing their experience and seeing all the people online talking about it, I think it really showed how widespread the problem is and reflects the degree of market consolidation in this industry,” Ocasio-Cortez continued.

“It’s getting to a point where if you want to see one of these large acts, there’s so little protection for everyday people that if you go into a secondary market, we are no longer in this realm of someone even charging double of what a ticket was,” she said. “Tickets are going as high [as tens of thousands of dollars] after what was supposed to be a presale operation designed for people who are actually going to be using the tickets that they purchase.”

Maybe Taylor Swift can tape a few lectures about communism for the Zoomers.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Ticketmaster’s Botched Sale Of Taylor Swift Tickets ‘Converted Gen Zers Into Anti-Monopolists,’ FTC Chairman Says