Editorial: Can Taylor Swift, Springsteen, Blumenthal and Klobuchar band together to change Ticketmaster?

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal has called out deceptive ticketing practices by Ticketmaster during the recent Taylor Swift tour ticket sale.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal has called out deceptive ticketing practices by Ticketmaster during the recent Taylor Swift tour ticket sale.

Dave J Hogan/Getty Imges for MTV and AP Photo/Jessica Hill

We don’t know for sure if U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., was hoping to score some Taylor Swift concert tickets, but Bruce Springsteen is planning to go to at least one gig.

Springsteen told Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show” that “my daughter is going to make sure that I will be at the Taylor Swift show.”

He also said Swift is “welcome on E Street any time,” referring to his upcoming tour with his E Street Band.

Concert venues have been less welcoming to many Swift fans, who saw Ticketmaster’s website crash during the presale, followed by resale prices for a single ticket listed on StubHub for as high as $21,600.

Yes, that comma is in the right place.

Swift cancelled public sale of the remaining tickets Thursday. 

Blumenthal responded to the outrage over Swift ticket availability this week by tweeting a reminder that he’s been suspicious of Ticketmaster since he was attorney general in Connecticut.

“Ticketmaster — I knew you were trouble back in 2009 when I asked questions about your ticketing practices as AG. Long story short, your anti-competitive behavior has been no love story for Taylor Swift concertgoers,” he wrote.

He attached a Feb. 5, 2009 news release about his investigation into inflated resale prices for Springsteen tickets. The only thing more awkward than his references to the artist’s lyrics (he wedged in “Glory Days” in the ’09 release), is the reality that things have only gotten worse over the years.

As a U.S. senator, Blumenthal has a bigger audience these days, along with others who have stepped up to join him on the chorus. U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., who chairs a subcommittee on antitrust issues, wrote directly to Live Nation Chief Executive Michael Rapino to challenge their business model.

Has technology been upgraded to handle demand? she asked.

What percentage of tickets are reserved for presales?

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., called for the merger between Ticketmaster and promoter Live Nation to be dismantled. Notably, that union was approved by the Justice Department in 2010, a year after Blumenthal called for an investigation into the possibility of a merger.

One of the problems with the issue is that the outcry rises when a major artist goes on tour, then falls like an audience’s applause, only to be forgotten until another icon comes to town.

There probably isn’t any a more popular performer in America than Swift right now, so Blumenthal & Co. should not let the moment pass.

Some artists have been thwarted in attempts to resist the ticket agency. Pearl Jam famously boycotted Ticketmaster in the mid-1990s, but eventually returned to the fold

Even if the monopoly cannot be severed, there’s plenty of work to be done to improve the process. So called “convenience” fees rendered by Ticketmaster are out of control, particularly given that fans typically print out tickets at home or simply use their phones for admission. And though bots are illegal, ticket brokers keep finding ways to use them to bypass the system.

Getting more artists on board couldn’t hurt either. Everything would probably change if Springsteen and Swift had to endure the process of going through Ticketmaster to buy tickets to see each other on stage.