Last week the Senate Judiciary Committee held a much-anticipated hearing regarding the recent Ticketmaster-Taylor Swift fiasco. During the three-hour meeting titled “That’s the Ticket: Promoting Competition and Protecting Consumers in Live Entertainment,” lawmakers called witnesses and grilled Ticketmaster about the events of Nov. 18, when the online ticket giant’s website crashed within an hour of tickets becoming available for Swift’s upcoming The Eras Tour.

On that day, millions of prospective customers found themselves unable to purchase tickets to the “Shake It Off” singer’s stadium tour, with their screens either freezing before they could make their purchase in time or locking them out entirely. Soon after, Live Nation Entertainment, Ticketmaster’s parent company, was forced to cancel the remainder of its planned ticket sales due to what it attributed to “unprecedented demand” and “insufficient” inventory. The company also issued a public apology to both Swift and her fans for the disruption. However, fans were left outraged, with some quickly filing class-action lawsuits against the company. Several state attorneys general also launched consumer protection investigations into the company and the Justice Department opened a probe into Live Nation Entertainment. Unsurprisingly, the debacle ultimately culminated in last week’s hearing –– and rightly so.

The incident raises important questions about what was truly at the heart of Ticketmaster’s website crash. While it’s certainly true that intense consumer demand played a role, as seen by the fact that tens of millions of uninvited customers flooded the website during the first hour, there may also be deeper-seated issues that involve Ticketmaster’s abuse of the market process and the effects that it’s had on competition, prices and ultimately quality of service.

Published in its entirety in Medium.