Senators quote Taylor Swift lyrics during Ticketmaster hearing and fans are divided: ‘This is cringe’
US senators have divided Taylor Swift fans after quoting her lyrics during a Ticketmaster hearing about the comapny’s ticket-selling failures.
Joe Berchtold, president of Ticketmaster owner Live Nation Entertainment, faced the Senate Judiciary Committee, anti-trust experts and industry insiders for a congressional hearing on Tuesday (24 January).
This was the latest of several attacks on the company. The Justice Department launched its own anti-trust investigation to see whether Live Nation were abusing their power in the live music industry back in November.
At the time, Live Nation posted a statement to their website saying it “takes its responsibilities under the antitrust laws seriously and does not engage in behaviours that could justify antitrust litigation”.
This coincided with outrage from millions of Taylor Swift fans who were unable to procure tickets for her Eras Tour due to lengthy queues and hiked pricing – with Ticketmaster forced to cancel their general sale due to overwhelming demand.
The fiasco led to Swift slamming Ticketmaster for failing fans and a group of hardcore Swifties separately taking the company to court.
The hearing on Tuesday aimed to more generally confront Ticketmaster, and by extension Live Nation’s potential monopoly on the provision of tickets for entertainment events.
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Senators specifically addressed whether Live Nation and Ticketmaster violated conditions placed on them by the Justice Department during their merger in 2010.
The concerns hinge around Ticketmaster having such a hold over artists and venues that they have no choice but to go through them – severely hindering healthy competition.
As of current estimates, Ticketmaster represents around 70 per cent of all sold tickets in the US, according to the New York Times.
How did Taylor Swift influence the hearing?
The hearing regularly referenced the major pop artist, with Joe Berchtold reiterating his apology to Swift and her fans, saying: “We need to do better and we will.”
It also saw US senators and industry officials slipping oft-quoted Taylor Swift lyrics during their indictments.
Democrat Amy Klobuchar started, saying: “To have a strong capitalist system, you have to have competition, you can’t have too much consolidation – something that unfortunately for this country, as an ode to Taylor Swift, I will say we know ‘all too well’.”
During the hearing Berchtold pointed to bots and cyber attacks as the cause of the issues faced by the Taylor Swift Eras Tour ticket sale.
However senator Richard Blumenthal, added: “May I suggest respectfully that Ticketmaster ought to look in the mirror and say, ‘I’m the problem, it’s me.'”
Meanwhile, a representative for the The James Madison Institute, a free-market US think-tank, claimed Taylor Swift fans were saying “this is why we can’t have nice things”.
And finally, when it was suggested to make tickets non-transferable to tackle tickets being bought to be sold on at inflated prices, senator Mike Lee swooped in.
He described the suggestion as a “nightmare dressed as a daydream” and ended: “Karma’s a relaxing thought – aren’t you envious that for you it’s not?”
Yes, the singer was quoted five whole times. From “Anti-Hero” to “All Too Well, no Taylor Swift reference was left unturned.
Of course Swifties did not miss the references and they immediately took to social media to share their mixed feelings.
Some people, who are raring to see Ticketmaster held accountable, criticised the choice as bringing down the tone of the hearing.
“This is so cringe. Please just sort the mess out and stop Ticketmaster having the chokehold it’s been allowed to have over live music for so long. We don’t need you to be quoting lyrics in serious political debates…” one person shared.
Or simply dying from how cringey the shoe horned moments were.
On the flip side some fans are loving the ode to Swift, with one person writing: “Taylor’s impact is undeniable she’s really gonna go down in history as the artist who finally took Ticketmaster down.”
And even providing their own sketches and suggestions.
And it didn’t end there. Taylor Swift fans were also seen demonstrating outside the US Capitol building, where the hearing was taking place.
Senator Lee observed: “As I was driving up this morning I couldn’t help but notice I had never seen more smiling and happy demonstrators than I saw today. I think Swifties have figured something out, they’re very good at getting their message across.”
Senator Klobuchar assured at the end of the hearing that this was just the first step in the process to confront the ticket industry.
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