×

Senators Question Ticketmaster, Live Nation on Alleged Scalper Collusion

"The allegations of the harms to consumers ... are serious and deserve immediate attention,” the letter reads.

UPDATED: U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) sent a letter to Michael Rapino, CEO of Ticketmaster parent company Live Nation, about the allegations made in a CBC/Toronto Star report last week, which claims the company’s proprietary program, TradeDesk, to allow ticket scalpers to access a web-based inventory of Ticketmaster’s ticket supply in order to circumvent ticket sale limits to resell tickets at higher prices — with the company’s acquiescence.

“CBC News reported that Ticketmaster . . . recruits and employs professional ticket scalpers to circumvent the ticket purchasing limits on its own primary ticket sales platform in an effort to expand its ticket resale division,” the senators wrote. “Citing examples of TradeDesk users moving up to several million tickets per year, the allegations of the harms to consumers made in this piece are serious and deserve immediate attention,” the senators continued. They requested a reply from Rapino by Oct. 5.

A rep for Ticketmaster responded with the following statement: “It’s clear from the Senators’ letter that recent reporting has left the impression that Ticketmaster provides brokers with ticket-buying software, which is categorically false. We look forward to clarifying these misconceptions later this week,” apparently referring to the official response to the senators’ letter. The rep also referenced a blog post from Ticketmaster president Jared Smith, which reads in part:

“Let me be absolutely clear and definitive that Ticketmaster does not have, and has never had, any program or product that helps professional resellers gain an advantage to buy tickets ahead of fans. Period.  We would never make anything like that, which would go against the very core of who we are and what we do.  And that’s simply not what TradeDesk is.”

The full text of the senators’ is below:

Mr. Michael Rapino
President and Chief Executive Officer
Live Nation Entertainment
9348 Civic Center Drive
Beverly Hills, California 90210

Dear Mr. Rapino:

CBC News reported on September 19th that Ticketmaster, the live-event ticket sales and distribution subsidiary of Live Nation Entertainment, recruits and employs professional ticket scalpers to circumvent the ticket purchasing limits on its own primary ticket sales platform in an effort to expand its ticket resale division According to the article, Ticketmaster utilizes a professional reseller program called TradeDesk, which provides a web-based inventory for scalpers to effectively purchase large quantities of tickets from Ticketmaster’s primary ticket sales website and resell these tickets for higher prices on its own resale platform. Citing examples of TradeDesk users moving up to several million tickets per year, the allegations of the harms to consumers made in this piece are serious and deserve immediate attention.

Given our ongoing interest in protecting consumers from unfair and deceptive practices, we seek clarification on the use of this program. The enacted Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act of 2016 prohibits the “circumvention of a security measure, access control system, or other technological control or measure on an Internet website or online service that is used by the ticket issuer to enforce posted event ticket purchasing limits or to maintain the integrity of posted online ticket purchasing order rule.”[2] Please provide responses to the following questions:

  • Describe the event ticket purchasing limits that Ticketmaster currently employs for sales on its primary ticket sales platform. Additionally, how does the company identify computer programs used to circumvent these purchasing limits?
  • Do Ticketmaster’s ticket purchasing limits and associated detection practices apply to users of its online program, TradeDesk? If not, please explain.
  • What are the specific rules and processes of compliance for participating TradeDesk users as it relates to ticket purchasing limits and other relevant consumer protection priorities? Please share any documents and guidance materials that are provided to TradeDesk users.
  • What role does Ticketmaster’s Professional Reseller Handbook play in deterring its resellers from engaging in illegal ticket purchasing activities?

Please provide your written response as soon as possible, but no later than 5 p.m. on October 5, 2018. Thank you for your prompt attention to this important matter. 

More Music

  • Duffy Singer Duffy arrives for the

    British Singer Duffy Says She Was 'Raped, Drugged and Held Captive'

    “Whatever happened to Duffy?” is a question that’s been asked by pop music fans for the better part of a decade — especially in the singer’s native England, where, in the late 2000s, she seemed poised for the kind of massive neo-soul career that Adele has enjoyed in her wake. Occasional stories over the years attempted [...]

  • What — and Who — Is

    What — and Who — Is Next for Def Jam Records?

    Friday afternoon’s announcement that Paul Rosenberg will be stepping down as CEO of Def Jam Records caught nearly everyone by surprise — including, briefly, the label’s parent company Universal Music Group, sources say. But the company pivoted quickly, appointing well-respected UMG chief counsel Jeff Harleston as interim chief while the suddenly public search for a [...]

  • Harry Styles performs at the Greek

    Harry Styles Is Appearing on 'The Howard Stern Show' Next Week

    Harry Styles is making an appearance on “The Howard Stern Show” next Monday, the program’s Captain Janks announced on Twitter on Tuesday. Stern is known to be a fan of Styles ever since the musician released his self-titled solo album back in 2017, expressing his “disturbing” enjoyment of the tracks despite some preconceived notions of [...]

  • Yola Carter Yola in concert at

    Concert Review: Yola Goes from a Dusty Whisper to a Tina-esque Scream

    Tom Hanks and Austin Butler, the stars of Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming Elvis Presley/Colonel Parker film, might want to watch out. Yola has been cast in the presumably small role of gospel/guitar great Sister Rosetta Tharpe, but once she’s on set, Luhrmann might decide to turn tail and just turn the whole thing into a Tharpe [...]

  • BTS carpool

    BTS Takes Over Late-Night With 'Tonight Show,' 'Carpool Karaoke' Appearances (Watch)

    In its most unique U.S. guest appearance to date, BTS performed on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” Monday night in an episode that focused on the band members’ sense of humor, which doesn’t need much interpretation. The South Korean septet played games with Fallon on the subway, made pastrami sandwiches at New York City’s [...]

  • Julia Lewis

    Atlas Music, Quincy Jones Productions Sign Bay Area Jazz Talent Julia Lewis (EXCLUSIVE)

    Jazz artist Julia Lewis (stylized JULiA LEWiS) is the first signing to the Atlas Music and Quincy Jones Productions joint venture. Lewis, whose real name is Benjamin Falik, arrives from the Bay Area where he built a following as a local producer, DJ and independent artist. Said Richard Stumpf, who founded the digital market-minded publisher Atlas [...]

  • Lady Gaga

    Lady Gaga's New Single, 'Stupid Love,' Is Dropping Friday

    Lady Gaga has announced that her next single, “Stupid Love,” the first new material she has released since the “Star Is Born” soundtrack, is dropping Friday at midnight ET. The singer posted the news on her social media accounts; there is also a billboard in Hollywood. “STUPID LOVE”THE NEW SINGLE BY LADY GAGA OUT FRIDAY [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content