There are a multitude of reasons why people had such a hard time trying to get tickets and I’m trying to figure out how this situation can be improved moving forward
Ticketmaster’s handling of sales for popstar Taylor Swift’s upcoming, and hotly anticipated, Eras tour has led to widespread public criticism and several government inquiries in the US.
On 15 November, many fans with presale codes for the concert were stuck in virtual queues for up to eight hours before losing out on tickets when the Ticketmaster website crashed. The company subsequently cancelled the public sale scheduled for 18 November due to “insufficient remaining ticket inventory”.
Following delays, website outages and cancellations, resale tickets soared to an astonishing $42,000 each on other selling platforms.
The ticketing debacle has subsequently brought the merger between Ticketmaster and Live Nation in 2010 back into public scrutiny, and antitrust staff have reportedly been looking into the merger months.
The US justice department is investigating Ticketmaster’s parent company Live Nation Entertainment due to criticism from Congress and multiple state inquiries. The investigation will determine whether Live Nation abused its power in the live entertainment industry.
The Attorney General of Tennessee Jonathan Skrmetti launched a consumer-protection and antitrust investigation into Ticketmaster after receiving numerous complaints to his office.
“I would hope the company is doing everything it can to make sure the customers, from today forward, have a much smoother and fairer experience,” said Skrmetti.
Josh Stein, Attorney General of North Carolina, also begun an investigation into Ticketmaster, and Pennsylvania Attorney General Joshua Shapiro asked customers who have experienced issues to submit consumer complaints.
Several politicians also criticised the incident on Twitter, including US representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who called the merger between Ticketmaster and Live Nation a “monopoly” that needs to be “reigned [sic] in”.
Another politician, David Cicilline, echoed Ocasio-Cortez’s comments stating that the merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation “should not have been allowed”.
“Ticketmaster’s excessive wait times and fees are completely unacceptable, as seen with today’s @taylorswift13 tickets,” Cicilline wrote on Twitter.
“It’s no secret that Live Nation-Ticketmaster is an unchecked monopoly.”
Taylor Swift addressed the controversy on her social media stating it was “excruciating for me to just watch mistakes happen with no recourse”.
“There are a multitude of reasons why people had such a hard time trying to get tickets and I’m trying to figure out how this situation can be improved moving forward,” wrote Swift.
“I’m not going to make excuses for anyone because we asked them, multiple times, if they could handle this kind of demand and we were assured they could,” wrote Swift.
“It’s truly amazing that 2.4 million people got tickets, but it really pisses me off that a lot of them feel like they went through several bear attacks to get them.”
Live Nation defended the incident, blaming “historically unprecedented demand” for the ticketing chaos. In a statement, the company emphasised adherence to antitrust laws and said it “does not engage in behaviours that could justify antitrust litigation”.
Live Nation also said it is working on renewing its technology “for the new bar that has been set by demand for the Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour”.
Taylor Swift’s US tour is scheduled to begin in March 2023 and will wrap up in August 2023. International dates have yet to be announced.