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Sen. Amy Klobuchar calls for hearing, federal investigation into Taylor Swift Ticketmaster fiasco

Sen. Klobuchar steps into the Taylor Swift-Ticketmaster fiasco
Sen. Klobuchar steps into the Taylor Swift-Ticketmaster fiasco 02:05

MINNEAPOLIS -- Sen. Amy Klobuchar said Thursday she would call a Senate hearing to probe Ticketmaster after the Taylor Swift ticket fiasco this week left many fans frustrated and empty handed.

This comes as the company canceled the general public sale of tickets originally scheduled for Friday "due to extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand." Swift fans sought tickets earlier this week with pre-sale codes and credit card exclusives, a rollout that was beset by technical problems.  

Klobuchar, who chairs a Senate subcommittee focused on consumer protection and anti-trust, said she also wants the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate. She already sent a letter to CEO of Ticketmaster expressing "serious concerns about the state of competition in the ticketing industry and its harmful impact on consumers," and seeking answers to direct questions about its operations.

She believes the company, which is the product of a merger between Ticketmaster and Live Nation a decade ago, is too big and too powerful.

"There just has to be consequences for this kind of behavior," Klobuchar told WCCO. "Because unlike competitive markets, where you just go down the street if you don't like one store, you go to this store, you go to this grocery store -- you don't have that choice here."

Other lawmakers are echoing her calls, including U.S. Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democrat from New York, who said Ticketmaster is a "monopoly" that need to be "reined in."  Tennessee's Republican attorney general also said his office would launch its own investigation.

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Greg Maffei, chairman Live Nation, apologized in an interview on CNBC Thursday, and said the company is "working hard at this."

He added that there were 1.5 million "verified fan" presale codes -- but 14 million logged into the site Tuesday. That demand was enough to fill 900 stadium shows, not just the 52 she's playing across the country next year. Two million tickets were sold, he said.

"Building capacity for peak demand is something we attempt to do, but this exceeded every expectation," Maffei said.

It's unclear if there will be any more tickets released at another time. Ticketmaster did not respond to a request for comment.

Alex Heifort counts herself as one of the lucky ones. She scored tickets to see her favorite pop star at the U.S. Bank Stadium show in Minneapolis after many hours waiting on Ticketmaster and several attempts to purchase tickets to no avail. Her husband faced similar glitches but ultimately was able to buy them.

"I feel very blessed to be able to say I'm able to go to Taylor Swift," Heifort said. "There's got be a better process. I don't know what the answer is, but this was just absolutely ridiculous for everybody."

Josey Castellanos had a similar experience navigating Ticketmaster's website Tuesday, but didn't see the same outcome. She desperately tried to get tickets for her 8-year-old daughter and was unsuccessful.

By the time she got in, the only tickets left were almost $800 -- a price too steep.

"I want change. I never want to go through this again," Castellanos said. "I never want someone who loves concerts and live music as much as me as much as my daughter to ever go through this again."

Klobuchar said the ticket woes shift the public focus on power of Live Nation, which she has criticized for years with concerns of anti-trust violations.

"I've called for years for a change, and maybe Taylor Swift fans ... will finally put it over the edge," she said.  

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