According to a new report on Saturday (Nov. 19), Ticketmaster is now under investigation by the top legal authorities in three states after a botched rollout of tickets to Taylor Swift‘s 2023 Eras Tour left millions of fans frustrated and empty handed.
The Associated Press reports that the Attorneys General in Nevada, Tennessee and Pennsylvania have launched investigations into the massive ticket service after receiving a number of complaints from concerned citizens.
A pre-sale for the upcoming concerts began on Tuesday (Nov. 15), but due to overwhelming demand, many fans experienced long waits that ended with being forcibly logged out of Ticketmaster without securing a ticket to any show. Ticketmaster moved a second pre-sale to the next day, resulting in similar issues. More than two million fans ultimately purchased tickets to Swift’s upcoming shows, but so many fans were left angry that it made headlines.
On Thursday (Nov. 17), the situation turned even worse for fans who had been unable to access tickets during the pre-sale, when Ticketmaster canceled the public on-sale that had been slated for Friday (Nov. 18) at 10AM local time. Meanwhile, according to Forbes, tickets that had already been purchased turned up on resale sites for prices as high as $28,000.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro tweeted, “Trouble, trouble, trouble” when he asked citizens to file their complains with his office, and later thanked people for their “swift response,” adding that his office had received “a lot” of complaints.
Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti says it’s part of his job to ensure that consumers have an equal chance at buying tickets in a fair marketplace.
“There are no allegations at this time of any misconduct,” he tells reporters, “but as the attorney general it’s my job to ensure that the consumer protection laws and antitrust laws in Tennessee are being honored.”
The office of Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford tells the AP it is investigating Ticketmaster for “alleged deceptive or unfair trade practices.”
The fiasco has turned a new light on Ticketmaster’s 2010 merger with Live Nation, which critics have charged constitutes a monopoly on the concert market.
“Daily reminder that Ticketmaster is a monopoly, it’s merger with LiveNation should never have been approved, and they need to be reigned in,” Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) tweeted in the midst of the chaotic ticket rollout. “Break them up.”
Additionally, CBS News reports that the U.S. Department of Justice has been investigating Live Nation for the possibility that it has been unfairly exploiting its market dominance. The DOJ’s antitrust division has reportedly contacted venues and others in the ticket industry to get a clearer picture of Live Nation’s methods, trying to establish whether the company does have a monopoly. That investigation reportedly predates the problems with Swift’s tickets.
Swift has issued a statement online, expressing her anger at the botched ticket situation.
“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 wrote in part, adding, “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.”
Ticketmaster has apologized, but the ticketing service also defended its handling of the situation in a post to its website.
“First, we want to apologize to Taylor and all of her fans — especially those who had a terrible experience trying to purchase tickets,” Ticketmaster writes, explaining that while 3.5 million fans had preregistered for the Verified Fan presale, “the staggering number of bot attacks as well as fans who didn’t have codes drove unprecedented traffic on our site, resulting in 3.5 billion total system requests – 4x our previous peak.”
Ticketmaster claims that all 2.4 million tickets that have been sold for Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour went to Verified Fans, marking the largest number of tickets a single artist has ever sold in a single day. The statement also notes that even when everything goes flawlessly from a tech perspective, “many fans are left empty handed. For example: based on the volume of traffic to our site, Taylor would need to perform over 900 stadium shows (almost 20x the number of shows she is doing)…that’s a stadium show every single night for the next 2.5 years.”
Ticketmaster has not offered up a solution for the situation. Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour is slated to launch on March 18.
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