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Ticketmaster Investigated After Canceling General Sale of Tickets to Taylor Swift's Tour

'We asked them, multiple times, if they could handle this kind of demand and we were assured they could' said Swift

The nationwide scramble to get tickets to Taylor Swift’s Era Tour has sparked not just a response from Ticketmaster, but also government agencies. 

In total, 2.4 million people got tickets to the tour which kicks off in March of 2023. Swift added 25 additional shows before the Ticketmaster verified fan presale began on Nov. 15. Reportedly 3.5 million people applied for pre-sale and 1.5 million were selected. 

Ticketmaster crashed as fans who had received the specialty code the night before logged on to buy tickets. As wait times stretched into hours, the company ultimately delayed its west coast sales by almost five hours and delayed a special pre-sale for Capitol One credit cardholders by an entire day.

Ultimately, Ticketmaster announced it was canceling its Nov. 18 general sale of tickets. The company cited an insufficient ticket inventory and would not be able to meet demand.

Greg Maffei, the chairman of Ticketmaster’s parent company Live Nation Entertainment, said the chaos stems from Swift’s massive popularity.

“Reality is it’s a function of the massive demand that Taylor Swift has,” he told CNBC. “The site was supposed to be opened up for 1.5 million verified Taylor Swift Fans. We had 14 million people hit the site – including bots, another story, which are not supposed to be there.”

“And despite all the challenges and the breakdowns, we did sell over 2 million tickets that day,” Maffei added. “We could have filled 900 stadiums.”

Upset fans are not the only ones criticizing Ticketmaster for the breakout of pre-sale. 

Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti announced on Twitter on Nov. 15 that his office would be investigating the incident “to ensure that no consumer protection laws were violated.”

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar has asked Ticketmaster CEO Michael Rapino if the company is in violation of the “antitrust consent decree that prohibited it from abusing its market position.” The decree was part of the 2010 merger with Live Nation. 

“Reports about system failures, increasing fees, and complaints of conduct that violate the consent decree Ticketmaster is under suggest that Ticketmaster continues to abuse its market positions,” Klobuchar wrote in the Nov. 16 letter. “Ticketmaster’s power in the primary ticket market insulates it from the competitive pressures that typically push companies to innovate and improve their services. That can result in dramatic service failures, where consumers are the ones that pay the price.”

Klobuchar’s comment echoes the sentiment expressed by New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. 

Daily reminder that Ticketmaster is a monopoly, it’s merger with LiveNation should never have been approved, and they need to be reigned in,” the congresswoman tweeted during the Eras pre-sale. “Break them up.”

The Taylor Swift ticket sale chaos was so significant that Live Nation Entertainment is now under antitrust investigation by the Department of Justice, per Deadline.

Swift released a statement, noting that she has “brought so many elements of [her] career in house” in order to improve fans’ experience. 

“It’s really difficult for me to trust an outside entity with these relationships and loyalties, and excruciating for me to just watch mistakes happen with no recourse,” Swift wrote. 

“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,” continued the pop singer. “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.”

She also expressed her anger that many fans felt like “they went through several bear attacks” to get tickets. 

Ticketmaster said it had expected 30% of people who received code for pre-sale to buy tickets and that each of those people would buy three tickets. 

The Eras tour is Swift’s first tour since she canceled “Lover Fest” because of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021.

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