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2023 Taylor Swift: Senators Grill Ticketmaster After Concert Fiasco

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SWIFT: Senators grilled Ticketmaster on Tuesday, questioning whether the company’s dominance in the ticketing industry contributed to the company’s spectacular failure last year during the sale of Taylor Swift concert tickets.

Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee also discussed potential legislation, such as making tickets non-transferable to reduce scalping and requiring greater transparency in ticket fees. Some speculated that it is also necessary to split Ticketmaster and Live Nation, a concert promoter based in Beverly Hills, California, which merged in 2010.

“The fact of the matter is, Live Nation/Ticketmaster is the 800-pound gorilla here,” Connecticut Democrat Richard Blumenthal said. “The entire concert ticket system is a monopolistic mess.”

Ticketmaster is the world’s largest ticket seller, processing 500 million tickets in over 30 countries yearly. According to data from a federal consumer lawsuit last year, Ticketmaster sells roughly 70% of tickets for major concert venues in the United States.

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Swift Was The Breaking Point For Ticketmaster

Ticketmaster’s website crashed mid-November during a presale event for Swift’s upcoming stadium tour. According to the company, its site was overwhelmed by both fans and bot attacks posing as customers to scoop up tickets and sell them on secondary sites. Thousands of people lost their tickets after spending hours in an online line.

On Tuesday, Live Nation President and Chief Financial Officer Joe Berchtold apologized to fans and Swift, saying the company needs to do better. Berchtold claims that Ticketmaster has spent swift $1 billion in the last decade to improve security and combat bots.

“We need to and will do better,” he stated.

However, lawmakers were skeptical. Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn of swift, Tennessee said that many other organizations, including banks and power companies, are frequently targeted by bots but do not experience service disruptions.

“How come they figured it out, but you haven’t? “This is incredible,” she exclaimed. “Many people are very unhappy with how this has been handled.”

swift

Senators Criticized Ticketmaster Fees

Senators also criticized Ticketmaster’s fees. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, recalled piling into a friend’s car in high school to attend concerts by Led Zeppelin, The Cars, and Aerosmith. She claims that ticket prices have risen, so many fans can no longer afford to attend concerts. Klobuchar stated that ticket fees now average 27% of the ticket price and can reach 75%.

Berchtold insisted that Ticketmaster does not set ticket prices or service fees nor determines how many tickets will be sold. Venues determine service fees, he says. According to him, Live Nation owns only about 5% of the venues in the United States.

However, competitors such as Seat Geek CEO Jack Groetzinger claim that even if Live Nation does not own a venue, it prevents competition by signing multi-year contracts to provide ticketing services to arenas and concert halls. Live Nation may withhold acts if those venues do not agree to use Ticketmaster. As a result, competitors will need help to disrupt the market.

“Breaking up Ticketmaster and Live Nation is the only way to restore competition,” Groetzinger said.

Clyde Lawrence, a singer-songwriter with the New York-based pop group Lawrence, believes that when Live Nation owns or has contracts with venues, it limits bands’ ability to negotiate a deal or choose a different ticket seller.

swift

Fees On Top Of Fees For Ticketmaster Customers

Lawrence gave an example: Ticketmaster charges $30 for a ticket but then adds fees that raise the price to $42. After deducting the fees they must pay to Live Nation, the band receives only $12 per ticket, including $250 for a stack of 10 towels in the dressing room in at least one case.

Lawrence wants fee caps, more transparency in how venue fees are used, and more equitable distribution of profits. Live Nation, for example, takes a cut of the band’s merchandise sales at a concert but does not share a cut of food and beverage sales.

Berchtold said the ticketing industry wants lawmakers to focus on the problem of ticket scalping, which he claims has grown into a $5 billion industry, and prohibit fraudulent practices like resellers selling tickets that have yet to officially go on sale. He also agreed that the industry’s fees should be more transparent.

Sen. John Kennedy, a Republican from Louisiana, proposed legislation that would make tickets non-transferable, preventing resale. He also proposed that major artists like Taylor Swift and Bruce Springsteen demand fee caps.

“Not every kid can afford to see Taylor Swift for $500,” Kennedy explained.

swift

No One Can Afford Those Prices

According to Berchtold, despite its involvement in the ticket resale market, Ticketmaster would support making tickets non-transferable. Others, including North Carolina Republican Sen. Thom Tillis, said making tickets non-transferable would infringe on people’s right to resell them.

The Justice Department approved the merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster in 2010 on the condition that Live Nation agree not to retaliate against concert venues for using other ticket companies for ten years.

In 2019, the department investigated and discovered that Live Nation had “repeatedly” violated the agreement. It extended the ban on retaliation against concert venues until 2025.

Sen. Mike Lee, a Republican from Utah, announced Tuesday that the Justice Department is re-investigating Live Nation following the Swift ticket debacle. At this point, he believes Congress should question whether the department was correct to allow the merger to proceed in the first place.

“We must keep fair, free, open, and even fierce competition,” Lee swift said. “It improves quality while decreasing cost. We want those things to occur.”

SOURCE – (AP)

 

 

 

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Why Brits Adore Kate Middleton and Question Meghan

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Kate Middleton, Meghan

The British royal family has long been a source of fascination and intrigue for people worldwide. In recent years, the spotlight has shone brightly on two prominent figures: Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle. These two women have captured the public’s attention differently, with Kate often seen as the epitome of traditional grace and charm, while Meghan is viewed as more modern and unconventional.

As we delve into why Brits seem to love Kate Middleton and harbour negative feelings towards Meghan, it’s important to understand the nuances that shape public perception. Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, has embraced her role within the royal family, exuding a sense of time-honoured elegance that resonates with many Brits. On the other hand, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, has been perceived as a more outspoken and independent figure, challenging the traditional norms of the monarchy.

By exploring the reasons behind these contrasting sentiments, we aim to unravel the complexities of public opinion towards the two duchesses. From their backgrounds to their approaches to royal duties, each woman brings a unique perspective to the royal family dynamic. Join us on this journey as we dissect the factors contributing to the love for Kate and the less favourable attitudes toward Meghan within British society.

Royal Family Dynamics

The British royal family holds a unique position in society, blending tradition with modernity in a delicate dance that captivates the public’s attention. The historical significance of the monarchy is undeniable, with its centuries-old traditions shaping public opinion and influencing media coverage. Understanding the dynamics within the royal family is key to comprehending why certain members, like Kate and Meghan, evoke differing reactions from the British public.

Tradition vs. Modernity

The royal family represents a blend of timeless traditions and the pressure to adapt to modern expectations. Kate Middleton embodies traditional values, seamlessly integrating into the royal protocol with grace and sophistication.

In contrast, Meghan Markle brought fresh air to the monarchy, challenging conventions with her modern approach to royal duties. This stark difference in their assimilation into the royal lifestyle sets the stage for contrasting perceptions among the British populace.

Media Portrayal

The media plays a pivotal role in shaping public perception of the royal family members, often crafting narratives that influence how the masses view individuals. Kate’s portrayal in the media has been largely positive, portraying her as a devoted wife and mother who upholds traditional values.

On the other hand, Meghan faced intense scrutiny and negative press, with headlines often focusing on her perceived defiance of royal norms. The impact of media bias on the public’s perception of Kate and Meghan underscores the power dynamics at play within the royal family.

Intriguingly, the interplay between tradition and modernity, coupled with media representation, offers a glimpse into the complexities of the royal family dynamics. As the saga unfolds, the contrasting receptions of Kate and Meghan shed light on the intricacies of royal life in the public eye.

Kate Middleton: The People’s Duchess

Kate Middleton’s British upbringing and relatable persona have played a significant role in endearing her to the British public. Growing up in England, Kate’s roots resonate with many, creating a sense of familiarity and connection with the people. Her down-to-earth nature and approachable demeanour have made her a beloved figure, genuinely and authentically bridging the gap between royalty and the public.

British Roots and Relatability

Kate Middleton’s background as a commoner who transitioned into royalty gives her a unique appeal to the British public. Her relatability stems from her modest beginnings, allowing many to see a bit of themselves in her journey. This relatability creates a sense of closeness and understanding that transcends societal barriers, making Kate feel like a friend rather than an unapproachable figure on a pedestal.

Graceful Conduct and Traditional Values

Known for her poise and elegance, Kate Middleton embodies grace in her conduct as a royal family member. Her adherence to royal protocols and commitment to upholding traditional values have earned her respect and admiration from traditionalists. By embracing the customs and traditions of the monarchy, Kate has demonstrated her dedication to preserving the heritage and legacy of the British royal family, strengthening her bond with those who value tradition and history.

Kate Middleton’s ability to blend her modern sensibilities with a deep respect for royal traditions has positioned her as a modern-day duchess with a timeless charm. Her graceful conduct and traditional values reflect her integrity and serve as a beacon of stability and continuity in a rapidly changing world. By staying true to herself while honouring the legacy of the monarchy, Kate has captured the hearts of the British public and solidified her place as the People’s Duchess.

Meghan Markle: The Controversial Duchess

Meghan Markle’s journey into the royal family brought a touch of American flair and modernization, contrasting with the traditional norms of the British monarchy. Her progressive views and unapologetic approach have often clashed with established royal protocols, creating controversies and stirring mixed reactions across British society.

American Influence and Modernization

Meghan’s American background has injected a fresh perspective into the royal fold, challenging age-old customs and pushing for more inclusive practices. Her advocacy for gender equality, racial justice, and social change has been met with admiration and scepticism. Some segments of British society have struggled to adapt to her outspoken nature, perceiving it as a departure from the reserved demeanour expected of royals.

Media Scrutiny and Tabloid Criticism

Since her relationship with Prince Harry became public, Meghan Markle has been under relentless media scrutiny, with tabloids often portraying her negatively. The press coverage intensified as she transitioned into royal life, amplifying the criticisms and spreading sensationalized stories that fueled public scepticism. The constant barrage of negative narratives has deepened the divide between Meghan and certain factions of the British public, shaping the perceptions surrounding her in the UK.

In the intricate tapestry of royal life, Meghan Markle’s presence has been a source of fascination and friction, embodying a blend of tradition and modernity that continues to captivate and polarize audiences worldwide.

Public Perception and Cultural Factors

The public perception of royals like Kate and Meghan in Britain is intrinsically tied to cultural factors that shape how they are viewed by society. Let’s explore how these factors influence the contrasting attitudes towards the two duchesses.

Class Divide and Social Traditions

In British society, the class system and entrenched social traditions significantly shape public opinion of royals. With her middle-class background and familiar upbringing, Kate often embodies the traditional image of a royal consort that many Brits can relate to.

On the other hand, Meghan, with her mixed-race heritage and American upbringing, challenges the norms and traditions of the royal family, leading to a more polarized view among the public. The divide between Kate and Meghan reflects deeper societal divisions around class, race, and cultural identities, influencing how the British public perceives each duchess.

Gender Roles and Feminist Discourse

The scrutiny faced by Kate and Meghan also extends to gender roles and feminist discourse. Through a traditional, patriarchal lens, Kate is often portrayed as the epitome of grace and duty, adhering to age-old expectations of royal women.

In contrast, Meghan’s assertiveness, independence, and outspoken nature have been met with admiration and criticism, sparking conversations about gender equality and feminism. The differing treatment of Kate and Meghan sheds light on evolving attitudes towards women in the public eye, with Meghan challenging stereotypes and pushing boundaries in ways that resonate with modern audiences.

By delving into the complexities of class distinctions, social traditions, gender roles, and feminist discourse, we can better understand the multifaceted layers of public perception surrounding Kate and Meghan in British society. These cultural influences shape how the two duchesses are perceived and reflect broader societal shifts and ongoing conversations about identity, tradition, and progress.

Future of Royal Popularity

The Royal Family stands at a pivotal juncture in its journey, seeking to adapt to the changing winds of modernity while upholding traditional values that have long defined the monarchy’s identity. As public scrutiny intensifies and expectations evolve, it becomes increasingly crucial for the royals to navigate these challenges with finesse and foresight. Here, we delve into strategies that could shape the future of royal popularity, ensuring relevance and resonance with contemporary audiences.

Adaptation and Unity

In a world marked by diversity and rapid change, the Royal Family must embrace a proactive approach to remain relevant and embraced by the people. The royals can bridge the gap between tradition and modernity by fostering unity within the family and demonstrating inclusivity in their engagements. Embracing societal shifts and cultural diversity can help the royals connect with a broader audience, ensuring that their image resonates with the values of a changing society.

Media Responsibility and Ethical Reporting

The media is pivotal in shaping public opinion about the royals, influencing perceptions and narratives that can make or break reputations. Journalists and media outlets must exercise ethical reporting practices, promoting fairness, balance, and accuracy in their coverage of royal events. By holding the media accountable for portraying royal family members, the narrative can shift towards a more nuanced and respectful depiction, fostering a healthier relationship between the monarchy and the public.

As the Royal Family navigates the complexities of modernity and media scrutiny, embracing adaptation, unity, and responsible reporting can pave the way for a future where their image remains strong and relevant in an ever-changing societal landscape. By staying true to their values while embracing evolution, the royals can ensure that public support endures, securing their relevance for future generations.

Conclusion

In wrapping up, it’s clear that the British public’s adoration of Kate Middleton and their disdain for Meghan Markle stem from a complex interplay of tradition, tabloid scrutiny, and societal expectations. Kate is seen as the epitome of grace and duty, embodying the traditional values that many Brits hold dear. On the other hand, Meghan’s outspoken nature and boundary-pushing ways have ruffled feathers and challenged the status quo, leading to a more polarizing reception.

This stark contrast in public perception not only shapes the royal family’s dynamics but also reflects broader societal norms and attitudes towards women in the public eye. How Kate and Meghan are portrayed and received sheds light on the deeply ingrained biases and expectations placed on women, especially those who dare to challenge conventions. As we dissect the reasons behind the love for Kate and the hate for Meghan, it’s essential to consider the implications for the royal family and society.

By Geff Thomas

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Iris Apfel, Fashion Icon Known For Her Eye-Catching Style, Dies At 102

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NEW YORK — Iris Apfel, a textile expert, interior designer, and fashion celebrity renowned for her unique style, has died. She was 102.

Lori Sale, Apfel’s business agent, confirmed her death and described her as “extraordinary.” No cause of death was specified. It was also confirmed on her verified Instagram page on Friday, a day after she celebrated her 102nd and a half birthday on Leap Day.

Apfel, born on August 29, 1921, was known for her irreverent, eye-catching costumes that combined haute couture with huge costume jewellery. A traditional Apfel ensemble would include a feather boa, strands of chunky beads, bangles, and a jacket embellished with Native American beadwork.

apfel

Iris Apfel, Fashion Icon Known For Her Eye-Catching Style, Dies At 102

With her large, round, black-rimmed glasses, bright red lipstick, and short white hair, she stood out at every fashion event she attended.

Her style has been the focus of museum exhibits and the documentary film “Iris,” directed by Albert Maysles.

“I’m not pretty, and I’ll never be pretty, but it doesn’t matter,” she commented at one point. “I’ve got something far better. “I have style.”

Apfel achieved late-life stardom on social media, accumulating nearly 3 million followers on Instagram, where her profile reads: “More is more & Less is a bore.” She gained 215,000 TikTok followers as she waxed eloquent about fashion and style and promoted previous collaborations.

“Being stylish and being fashionable are two entirely different things,” she stated in a TikTok video. “You can simply buy your way to being fashionable. I believe you have a natural sense of style. It denotes inventiveness and boldness.”

She never retired, saying “Today” that “I believe retiring at any age is a fate worse than death.” Just because a number appears does not mean you have to stop.

“Working with her was an honour of a lifetime.” “I shall miss her regular calls, always greeted with the usual question: “What have you got for me today?,” Sale said in a statement. “A testament to her voracious drive to work. She was a visionary in every sense of the term. She observed the world through a unique lens equipped with massive, unusual spectacles perched on her nose.”

Apfel was an expert in textiles and ancient fabrics. She and her husband Carl ran Old World Weavers, a textile manufacturing company specializing in restoration work, including projects at the White House for six U.S. residents. Apfel’s celebrity clients included Estee Lauder and Greta Garbo.

apfel

Iris Apfel, Fashion Icon Known For Her Eye-Catching Style, Dies At 102

Apfel’s celebrity skyrocketed in 2005 when the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York City staged a show about her called “Rara Avis,” Latin for “rare bird.” The museum characterized her approach as “both witty and exuberantly idiosyncratic.”

Her individuality is generally seen in her mingling of high and low fashions—Dior haute couture with flea market finds, 19th-century church vestments with Dolce & Gabbana lizard trousers.” According to the museum, her “layered combinations” broke “aesthetic conventions” and “even at their most extreme and baroque” showed a “boldly graphic modernity.”

The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, was among several museums nationwide that held a touring version of the display. Apfel later donated hundreds of pieces to the Peabody, including couture gowns, to help them establish what she described as “a fabulous fashion collection.” The Museum of Fashion & Lifestyle, located near Apfel’s winter home in Palm Beach, Florida, also plans a gallery to display artefacts from her collection.

Apfel was born in New York City to Samuel and Sadye Barrel. Her mother owned a store.

apfel

Iris Apfel, Fashion Icon Known For Her Eye-Catching Style, Dies At 102

In her later years, Apfel appeared in advertisements for M.M.A.C. Cosmetics and Kate Spade, contributing to her reputation. She also created a line of accessories and jewellery for Home Shopping Network, worked with H&M on a collection of brightly coloured apparel, jewellery, and shoes that sold out in minutes, launched a makeup line with Ciaté London, an eyeglass collection with Zenni, and collaborated with Ruggable on floor coverings.

In a 2017 interview with APA.P.t the age of 95, she claimed her favourite modern designers were Ralph Rucci, Isabel Toledo, and Naeem Khan, but added, “I have so much, I don’t go looking.” When asked for fashion tips, she replied, “Everyone should find her own way. I’m a strong advocate for individualism. I don’t like trends. If you learn who you are, what you look like, and what you are capable of, you will know what to do.”

She dubbed herself the “accidental icon,” which inspired the title of a book she published in 2018, replete with keepsakes and style ideas. Odes to Apfel abound, ranging from a Barbie in her likeness to T-shirts, eyewear, artwork, and dolls.

Apfel’s husband died in 2015. They had no children.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Anant Ambani: World’s Rich In India For Tycoon Son’s Pre-Wedding Gala

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Some of the world’s most powerful people have travelled to India’s Gujarat state to attend a wedding reception hosted by Asia’s richest man.

Mark Zuckerberg, Rihanna, and Bill Gates were guests at Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani’s pre-wedding extravaganza for his son.

Anant Ambani, 28, plans to marry Radhika Merchant in July.

ambani

Anant Ambani: World’s Rich In India For Tycoon Son’s Pre-Wedding Gala

Bollywood celebrities such as Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan also attend the three-day festival in Jamnagar.

According to Forbes, Mukesh Ambani, 66, is currently the world’s 10th richest man, with a net worth of $115 billion. His father started Reliance Industries in 1966, a vast conglomerate that works in various industries, including refining, retail, financial services, and communications.

Anant Ambani is the youngest of his three children, serving on the Reliance Industries board. The 28-year-old is involved with Reliance’s energy companies and serves on the board of the Reliance Foundation.

The grandiose pre-wedding event coincides with the Ambani family’s history of staging lavish wedding celebrations.

2018 Beyoncé performed at Mr Ambani’s daughter Isha Ambani’s pre-wedding celebrations in Udaipur. Former US Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry attended the event.

A Bloomberg report at the time claimed sources who estimated the cost of Isha’s wedding at $100 million; however, a “person close to the family” contradicted this and stated that the bill was around $15 million.

The present festivities began earlier this week with an occasion in which the Ambani family gave food to the locals in Jamnagar.

There are about 1,200 guests attending the pre-wedding party in a township close to Reliance’s main oil refinery in Jamnagar.

ambani

Anant Ambani: World’s Rich In India For Tycoon Son’s Pre-Wedding Gala

Reuters says the guest list includes Indian billionaires Gautam Adani and Kumar Mangalam Birla. Disney CEO Bob Iger is also likely to attend the party just days after his business announced the merger of its India holdings with those of Reliance.

Zuckerberg, who is on a busy Asia trip, arrived in Jamnagar on Thursday. Bill Gates, who came to India a few days ago, had previously shared a video of himself drinking tea brewed by a local vendor, which went viral.

Other notable arrivals on Friday include cricketers Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Dwayne Bravo and BP CEO Murray Auchincloss.

Other attendees set to attend the Ambani event include BlackRock co-founder Larry Fink, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, former Canadian PM Stephen Harper, former Australian PM Kevin Rudd, and Ivanka Trump.

ambani

Anant Ambani: World’s Rich In India For Tycoon Son’s Pre-Wedding Gala

“The guest list appears to have more RSVPs from global corporate titans than the weddings of Mr Ambani’s two older children in 2018 and 2019, underscoring Reliance’s growing clout and role as a conduit to the Indian economy for global tech, media and energy giants,” the report said.

Rihanna and illusionist David Blaine are among the performers scheduled to appear.

Guests are also slated to visit a rescue centre in Jamnagar, which houses around 2,000 animals. According to a planning document seen by Reuters, the dress code for this visit is “jungle fever”.

SOURCE – (BBC)

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