Following a whirlwind week that saw the sale of Taylor Swift concert tickets descend into chaos comes a report that the Department of Justice has allegedly opened an investigation into the owner of Ticketmaster.
The investigation, which reportedly predates this week’s sales for Swift’s upcoming tour, examines whether Live Nation Entertainment has “abused its power over the multibillion-dollar live music industry,” the New York Times reported Friday.
It has been a rough few days for Swift fans hoping to buy tickets through Ticketmaster to see her on “The Eras Tour.”
Some experienced heartbreak early, missing out on coveted presale codes from the ticket seller. Many who were verified endured hours-long waits only to be kicked out of the queue by the malfunctioning website. On Thursday, Ticketmaster announced it would cancel the public on-sale altogether.
On Friday night, the company issued an apology “to Taylor and all of her fans – especially those who had a terrible experience trying to purchase tickets.”
“We strive to make ticket buying as easy as possible for fans, but that hasn’t been the case for many people,” the company said in a statement.
Now, to add insult to injury, tour tickets have become available through ticket resellers at mind-boggling prices.
For her upcoming North American tour, Swift will headline three shows at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough on May 19-21, 2023. It will mark her first return to Gillette since her “Reputation Tour” in 2018.
So what’s the cheapest price listed on StubHub for an individual ticket to any of Swift’s Boston shows? About $870.
Not exactly a bargain.
Swift addressed the debacle with Ticketmaster on Friday, writing in an Instagram post that it “goes without saying I’m extremely protective of my fans” and that it is “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.”
She said that she is “trying to figure out how this situation can be improved moving forward” and that she is not “going to make excuses for anyone” after being reassured multiple times that they “could handle this kind of demand.”
“To those who didn’t get tickets, all I can say is that my hope is to provide more opportunities for us to all get together and sing these songs,” Swift said.
The chaos resulted from “unprecedented traffic” — including fans without presale codes as well as “a staggering number of bot attacks” — on the Ticketmaster site, the statement said.
“Never before has a Verified Fan onsale sparked so much attention – or traffic,” Ticketmaster said. “This disrupted the predictability and reliability that is the hallmark of our Verified Fan platform.”
Swifties know the trials and tribulations of buying tickets to one of her shows all too well.
Even before the chaos with Ticketmaster erupted, there were warnings people might have to reach deep into their pockets. But few expected that the general sale would be canceled due to “insufficient remaining ticket inventory,” depriving many fans of the opportunity to even try to buy.
Now the chaos experienced by many devastated — and aggrieved — fans this week has reached another level, with some vowing to wage a battle against Ticketmaster. Bad blood is officially brewing.
“The resale market for Taylor Swift tickets is insane. I feel so bad for people who wanted tickets and got screwed,” tweeted one person. “Not ok.”
Many more also tweeted out pictures of absurdly high prices at venues.
“I’m telling you the fallout is huge,” the host of the music and entertainment show tweeted.
Even politicians like New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are now urging Swifties to demand action from the Department of Justice and break up Ticketmaster, referring to it as a “monopoly.”
“Daily reminder that Ticketmaster is a monopoly, its merger with LiveNation should never have been approved, and they need to be [reined] in. Break them up,” the Democratic congresswoman tweeted.
“Consumers deserve better than this anti-hero behavior,” chimed in Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal. Wisconsin Representative Mark Pocan tweeted that “buying guns should be harder than buying Taylor Swift tickets.”
Attorneys general in several states, including North Carolina and Tennessee, say they are now either investigating or considering looking into Ticketmaster for “allegedly violating consumers’ rights and antitrust laws.”
Fans appear to be listening.
“The documentary on the takedown of Ticketmaster by rabid Taylor Swift fans is going to be so good,” added another.
But for now, if fans want to see Swift in concert, the message is largely: “You’re on your own, kid.”