Paris, 2022-11-18 22:01:00. Taylor Swift: How her Ticketmaster fans broke her
The general sale of tickets for Taylor Swift’s new tour was canceled by Ticketmaster on Thursday after a hectic few days that highlighted Swift’s massive fan base and the shortcomings of the music industry’s preeminent ticketing system.
He questioned the status of Ticketmaster, which is owned by entertainment giant Live Nation and reportedly controls 70 percent of the US market for ticket sales, as a monopoly in the field and sparked a flurry of antitrust advocacy among others. Swift fans only but US legislators.
After millions of Swift fans, known as Swifties, were banned from Ticketmaster’s fan-approved system, designed to dump bots in exchange for “real” fans, while others faced various technical difficulties and long wait times, several US lawmakers took to Twitter to voice their criticism. .
US Congressman David N. Cicilline, who chairs the House Antitrust Subcommittee, tweeted on Tuesday: “Excess wait times and TicketMaster fees are completely unacceptable, as we saw with Taylor Swift’s tickets today, and are symptomatic of a larger problem.”
“It’s no secret that Live Nation-Ticketmaster is an unchecked monopoly.”
The US Department of Justice is currently conducting an “antitrust investigation” involving Ticketmaster and Live Nation, which preceded the recent mess.
This was prompted when Live Nation and Ticketmaster merged in 2010 to create Live Nation Entertainment, with the goal of investigating abuse of its monopoly power over the live music industry, according to The New York Times.
How Taylor Swift Turned Sale Upside Down
Phase one of three tiers of “pre-sales” for Swift’s first public tour since 2018 kicked off today, Tuesday. This was done through Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan program, which aims to screen bots and speculators in favor of buyers who are most likely to be true fans.
During the pre-show period, 3.5 million people signed up for the program, the largest enrollment in company history and 1.5 million of them received a special access token and were “invited” to sell Swift’s tour, according to a later-deleted blog post. by Ticketmaster.
A waiting list has been created for the remaining 2 million fans.
“Historically, working with verified fan invite codes has been successful as we’ve been able to manage volume coming to the site to shop for tickets,” the company said.
“However, this time around, the staggering number of bot attacks, as well as fans who didn’t have invitation codes, drove unprecedented traffic to our site, resulting in a total of 3.5 billion requests on the system – 4 times our previous peak.”
On Tuesday alone, two million tickets were sold. But the massive demand of billions of system requests has caused the Ticketmaster app to crash for many users.
Customers took to Twitter to complain that Ticketmaster would not load or allow them access to tickets, despite having a pre-sale code for verified fans.
One fan wrote on Twitter: “I got a code and I’m logged into the right account, but it says I’m not verified?! What do I do?”
Others echoed that complaint, with some calling on Ticketmaster to “fix this”.
On Wednesday, a second pre-show was held for Capital One cardholders.
However, Ticketmaster canceled its plans to sell general tickets on Friday, when it would normally sell out any tickets left after the pre-sale.
The decision was announced Thursday afternoon and it is not clear how many tickets are still available for Swift’s tour and how many tickets have already been sold.
Ticketmaster said in a statement Thursday that it expected huge ticket demand to see Swift perform on her first tour in five years, but that intense interest, combined with bot attacks, has resulted in “unprecedented traffic to our site” and inconvenience to some fans.
“Major artists and venues turn to us because we have the world’s leading ticketing technology – which doesn’t mean it’s perfect, and it clearly wasn’t for Taylor For Sale,” the statement said. “But we’re always working to improve the ticket buying experience.”
Swift on Friday addressed the ticket debacle on Instagram and blamed Ticketmaster, noting that there are “so many reasons why people are having such a difficult time” getting tickets.
“I won’t make excuses for anyone because we asked them many times if they could handle this kind of request and we made sure they could,” the singer wrote.
Why US Attorneys got involved
Ticketmaster has long been on the radar of American politicians and celebrities, due to its near complete control of the live music and ticketing industry in the United States.
But, despite a lawsuit being filed in 2010 in the case that raised objections to the merger, the Department of Justice and the states allowed the Live Nation Ticketmaster merger to pass.
In the filing, the DOJ said Ticketmaster’s share among major concert venues exceeded 80 percent.
While the Swift tour is the latest casualty of Ticketmaster’s ticketing problems, the platform has received similar criticism before.
The company was criticized earlier this year for its “platinum pricing,” which has spiked some tickets in response to demand, including tours by Bruce Springsteen and Blink 182.
Many members of the US Congress see the ongoing catastrophe as a symptom of a larger issue: the market monopoly caused by large corporations consorting with one another.
Live Nation CEO Michael Rapinoe received a letter from US Senator Amy Klobuchar, chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust and Consumer Protection, expressing concern that Ticketmaster continues to abuse its market dominance.
In her letter, Klobuchar notes, Ticketmaster’s dominance “insulates it from the competitive pressures that typically drive companies to innovate and improve their services,” often resulting in their customers facing the consequences.
“I am concerned about the pattern of non-compliance with your legal obligations,” she wrote, and delineated questions for the CEO regarding the company’s wrongdoing.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said in a now-deleted tweet Tuesday that “TicketMaster is a monopoly” and “their merger should not have been approved.”
With files from the Associated Press, CNN, and Reuters
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