Look what you made them do, Taylor Swift.
Democrats, Republicans, and even witnesses came armed with their best Swift puns on Tuesday, as the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing to address Ticketmaster’s disastrous rollout of tickets for Swift’s “Eras” tour late last year. Hundreds of thousands of fans were locked out of Ticketmaster’s site, despite having presale codes. Many faced hourslong wait times, all while ticket prices skyrocketed from the demand. The president of Ticketmaster’s parent company, Live Nation, blamed it on bots and a cyberattack.
Lawmakers were not buying it, questioning whether the company was adhering to a Department of Justice antitrust consent decree. They also dug into how Ticketmaster sets ticket prices and fees, and even accused them of intimidating venues into working with them. And during questioning, they dropped plenty of not-so-subtle Swift references—which we could not resist rounding up:
“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.”
—Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar, chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights, borrowed lyrics from “All Too Well” to suggest Live Nation and Ticketmaster have consolidated power and eliminated competition within the ticketing industry.
“To be honest, I had hoped, as of a few months ago, to get the gavel back, but once again she’s cheer captain, and I’m on the bleachers.”
—Republican Sen. Mike Lee
Lee, ranking member of the subcommittee, used Swift’s 2008 Fearless single “You Belong With Me” to allude to his own party not winning an expected majority in the Senate.
“A lot of people seem to think that’s somehow a solution—I think it’s a nightmare dressed like a daydream.”
—Republican Sen. Mike Lee
Lee struck again! This time, he was disagreeing with the idea of removing restrictions on consumers that limit how they can resell purchased tickets, referencing “Blank Space” from Swift’s 1989 album.
“And may I suggest respectfully that Ticketmaster ought to look in the mirror and say, ‘I’m the problem. It’s me.’ ”
—Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal
The Connecticut senator referenced “Anti-Hero” from Swift’s Midnights album as he congratulated Live Nation President Joe Berchtold on bringing Democrats and Republicans together in agreement on something, for once.
“We have a reputation of fighting among ourselves … but we also have a reputation of being able to solve problems for the nation.”
—Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham
This may or may not have been a coincidence, but one could interpret this as a reference to Swift’s 2017 album, Reputation.
“Their growth has allowed them to innovate and make advances that greatly benefit consumers. A few million Taylor Swift fans would respond: ‘This is why we can’t have nice things.’ ”
—Sal Nuzzo, senior vice president of the James Madison Institute
Nuzzo, a witness during Tuesday’s hearing, referenced Swift’s “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things,” also from Reputation, to argue that Ticketmaster and Live Nation’s market dominance precludes them from prioritizing consumer welfare.