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Taylor Swift versus Ticketmaster: the latest on the tour that may break up a giant

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After Ticketmaster’s site crumbled under the load of Taylor Swift fans trying to get concert tickets, the DOJ is reportedly investigating whether it’s part of an entertainment monopoly.

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On November 15th, millions of people with presale codes logged on to Ticketmaster to get tickets for the Taylor Swift Eras Tour — or at least they tried to. The website, run by the massive entertainment company Live Nation Entertainment, struggled under the load, with many users getting errors and being told their information was incorrect.

Things only got worse from there. Two days later, Ticketmaster announced it was canceling the planned public ticket sale, as it didn’t have enough tickets left to meet what it called “historically unprecedented demand.” It also posted a write-up about what had happened, saying that around “15 percent of interactions” with the site ended with an error and that around 3.5 million people had registered with the “Verified Fan” program that’s intended to keep bots at bay.

Since then, Ticketmaster has mysteriously pulled that post, and Taylor Swift has responded to the controversy by saying that she and her team were repeatedly assured the company’s systems would be able to handle the traffic (which the now-deleted post claimed was twice as much as the top five tours of 2022 and Super Bowl combined). The government has reportedly opened an antitrust investigation into Live Nation after several lawmakers raised concerns about it being a monopoly and whether there was enough competition in the ticket-selling space.

On January 24th, Live Nation CFO Joe Berchtold and others are sitting in front of Congress for the Senate Committee on the Judiciary hearing “That’s the Ticket: Promoting Competition and Protecting Consumers in Live Entertainment.”

Ticketmaster has long been accused of being anticompetitive — Pearl Jam filed a complaint about it to the DOJ in 1994. So it remains to be seen whether this incident will be the latest in a series of unsuccessful attempts to loosen the company’s iron grip on the industry or if it’ll be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Either way, you can come back here for the latest in the Ticketmaster / Taylor Swift drama.

  • The Senate Judiciary hearing over Ticketmaster’s Taylor Swift debacle is starting now.

    Ticketmaster’s botched attempt to sell tickets to Taylor Swift’s The Eras tour — and inadvertent antitrust radicalization event — is now being discussed on Capitol Hill.

    The Senate Committee on the Judiciary hearing “That’s the Ticket: Promoting Competition and Protecting Consumers in Live Entertainment” will have Joe Berchtold, the CFO and president of Ticketmaster’s parent company Live Nation, and others testifying.

  • Dec 4, 2022, 5:10 PM UTCEmma Roth

    A group of fans accuse Ticketmaster of engaging in ‘anticompetitive conduct’ after the presale for Taylor Swift’s upcoming tour crashed its site and left fans with long wait times.

  • External Link
    The Ticketmaster Taylor Swift fiasco sparked a congressional hearing.

    Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Mike Lee (R-UT) have announced they’re holding a hearing to “examine the lack of competition in the ticketing industry” after Ticketmaster’s site crumbled when millions of people tried to buy tickets to Taylor Swift’s tour.

    We don’t know when the hearing will be, or who’s testifying, so it’s unclear if Taylor herself will be taking the stand.

  • Nov 19, 2022, 4:58 PM UTCJay Peters

    Ticketmaster merger’s with Live Nation is getting a look from the Department of Justice, according to The New York Times. Ticketmaster bungled Taylor Swift’s ticket presale this week.

  • Nov 18, 2022, 6:12 PM UTCMitchell Clark

    ‘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.’

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