Image source: Getty/Emma McIntyre/AMA2019
Everyone knew how to get tickets Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour would be a challenge. But no one — especially Ticketmaster, the platform responsible for distributing those tickets — seemed remotely aware of how messy the process was going to get.
Swift first announced The Eras Tour on November 1 and added eight more dates on November 4. The fact that some brides were considering changing their wedding dates to take part in the tour foreshadowed the chaos that would follow when tickets finally went on sale.
Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan program allows people to register in advance and gain access to pre-sale tickets. Corresponding The edge, more than 3.5 million people registered for the program in preparation for Swift’s tour — the largest registration in the site’s history — and approximately 1.5 million gained access to presales. However, according to Ticketmaster, bots and fans without invite codes flooded the site when the presale opened on November 15, causing the site to crash repeatedly – and prompting extreme anger among Swifties. Fans complained about hours of waiting, which led to technical disruptions, as well as postponed or canceled pre-sale phases.
On November 17, Ticketmaster announced that it would not open general sales at all. “Due to exceptionally high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining tickets to meet this demand, tomorrow’s public presale for Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour cancelled.” The company tweeted.
So far, there’s no word on if or when tickets will be open to the public, but tickets are already available on all resale sites — and they’re selling for $400 to over $22,000 apiece The guard. Even some of the lucky few who were able to purchase tickets may have paid more than expected due to a dynamic pricing model.
On Nov. 18, Swift took to Instagram Stories to address the controversy and penned a lengthy statement that read, in part, “There are a variety of reasons people have had such a hard time getting tickets and I’m trying to figure out figure out how this situation can be improved in the future.” (Representatives from Swift and Ticketmaster did not immediately respond to POPSUGAR’s request for comment.) On Dec. 3, fans took matters into their own hands and, according to the court, are preparing to to sue Ticketmaster’s parent company, Live Nation Entertainment documents received by the deadline.
Here’s everything you need to know about how it all happened.
What is dynamic pricing?
After the pre-sale issues, fans have flocked to the dynamic pricing that Swift has allegedly hugged. (Swift also used dynamic pricing for them Tour 2018 – like Bruce Springsteen for his 2023 tour, the resulted in tickets costing over $5,000.) Dynamic pricing essentially means that ticket prices can change based on demand. “In some cases, events on our platform may have tickets at ‘market prices’, so ticket and fee prices may adjust over time based on demand,” according to Ticketmaster’s FAQs read. “This is similar to selling airline tickets and hotel rooms and is commonly referred to as ‘dynamic pricing.'” In the case of The Eras Tour, dynamic pricing reportedly left some fans with tickets costing thousands of dollars after waiting hours in the queue snake, acc paper.
Why the federal legislature pays attention to it
Of course, Swift fans were furious — but the debacle also caught the attention of federal lawmakers, some of whom called for Ticketmaster to be investigated for antitrust violations.
“A daily reminder that Ticketmaster is a monopoly, its merger with LiveNation should never have been approved, and they need to be governed,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on Nov 15
Daily reminder that Ticketmaster is a monopoly, its merger with LiveNation should never have been approved and they must be curbed.
break them— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 15, 2022
“Taylor Swift’s tour sales are a perfect example of how the Live Nation/Ticketmaster merger harms consumers by creating a near-monopoly,” tweeted Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut. Then, quoting Swift, he wrote, “Consumers deserve better than this anti-hero behavior.”
Consumers deserve more options, better prices and fewer barriers to the music and artists we know and love. The DOJ should have, should have, did (and still can) to examine the state of competition in the live entertainment/ticketing industry. https://t.co/aMYXtnqwvr— Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) November 17, 2022
Ticketmaster’s controversial history in the live music market
Ticketmaster merged with Live Nation in 2010. Even before that, Ticketmaster was the largest ticketing platform in the United States, per A report from Northeastern University, and its merger with the world’s largest concert promoter has resulted in the site becoming a major concert ticketing hotspot. According to the report, today ticket prices are higher than ever, and the platform’s service fees can almost match the prices of some tickets.
Before Ticketmaster and Live Nation took over, the live music business was managed more locally. “There was this history of regional promoters, regional markets that really paid attention to the regional genres and music scenes,” said David Herlihy, Northeastern’s music industry program coordinator. But Ticketmaster grew more and more powerful than the government during the Clinton era relaxed some of its media acquisition policies.
Artists have been fighting back against Ticketmaster since 1994, when the band Pearl Jam filed a civil complaint with the Justice Department in response to the platform’s overcharging, leading to an investigation that went nowhere Independently. The band then went on tour and only played at venues not affiliated with Ticketmaster, but finding these venues was a challenge and major cities like New York were nearly impossible to book. As a result, the tour was extremely expensive for the band and they eventually returned to Ticketmaster.
Ticketmaster has also been in trouble lately. In January, the site was plagued by a class-action lawsuit alleging “predatory and exclusionary conduct,” with plaintiffs’ attorneys arguing that Ticketmaster was withholding artists from venues that didn’t use Ticketmaster as their primary sales platform Rolling Stonedespite before agree not to do it.
Now Swift fans are calling for Ticketmaster’s demise. “Ticketmaster owns livenation, seatgeek, iheartradio, sirius xm, pandora radio and multiple stadiums, a tweet from taylor alone won’t fix that,” said one user wrote. Others celebrated young fans’ sudden interest in monopoly. “Swifties are being radicalized against monopolies and are preparing to do anti-trust lobbying. Good luck on Ticketmaster.” tweeted writer Elamin Abdelmahmoud.
What action will be taken against Ticketmaster?
On December 3rd meeting received documents that revealed that over two dozen Swift fans are preparing to sue Live Nation Entertainment, arguing that Ticketmaster violated the Cartwright Act and the Unfair Competition Act and accusing them of fraud, misrepresentation and fraudulent incitement. “Based on information and belief, Ticketmaster implemented this anti-competitive scheme by forcing fans of musicians to use Ticketmaster solely for presale and retail prices in excess of what would be a competitive market price,” the lawsuit alleges, arguing that the site “deliberately and intentionally misleads ticket buyers” by including “scalpers and bots” in the presale.
In addition, Senator Amy Klobuchar, chair of the Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust and Consumer Rights, has announced her intention to take action against Ticketmaster. “Ticketmaster’s power in the primary ticketing market isolates it from the competitive pressures that typically push companies to innovate and improve their services,” she wrote of her websiteadding that she had sent a letter to Ticketmaster President and CEO Michael Rapino expressing her concerns.
Meanwhile, Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti has also stated that he will inform Ticketmaster, per ABC. “We have received complaints about the sales process and we have previously addressed antitrust allegations involving Ticketmaster and Live Nation. We want to make sure there aren’t any issues here that require legal action,” he said at a Nov. 16 news conference.
Corresponding The New York TimesTicketmaster is also currently under investigation by the Justice Department, although the outlet said the investigation precedes the Eras Tour’s ticketing problems.
Youth activism organization Voters of Tomorrow also launched its own antitrust initiative called Swifties Working to Increase Fairness by Ticketmaster — also known as SWIFT,” the organization tweeted. “Now that they got Taylor into it, they’ll see how angry we are.”
Did Taylor Swift Address the Ticketmaster Controversy?
In a statement shared about her Instagram story on November 18thSwift addressed the events of the week.
“So. It goes without saying that I am very protective of my fans. We’ve been doing this together for decades and over the years I’ve brought so many elements of my career into the house,” she wrote. “I did this SPECIFICALLY to improve the quality of my fans’ experience by doing it myself with my team who care about my fans as much as I do. It’s really difficult for me to confide these relationships and allegiances to an outside entity. and it’s agonizing for me to just watch mistakes happen without recourse.”
She continued, “There are a variety of reasons people have had such a hard time getting tickets and I’m trying to figure out how this situation can be improved in the future. I will not apologize to anyone because we asked them several times if they could handle this type of demand and were assured that they could. It’s really amazing that 2.4 million people got tickets, but it really pisses me off that many of them feel like they went through multiple bear attacks to get them. And to those who didn’t get tickets, all I can say is that I hope we can give everyone more opportunities to come together and sing these songs. Thank you for wanting to be part of it. You have no idea how much that means.”
Image source: Instagram user taylorswift