Ticketmaster called before Senate following Taylor Swift’s tour fiasco

Story by Max Guerrera and Andrea Valadez-Angulo

The presale for Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour started on Friday, Nov. 15 and disorder imminently followed. 14 million people rushed to Ticketmaster, crashing the site and raising concerns over the company’s legitimacy. 

Senators Amy Klobuchar and Mike Lee have announced their plans to hold a Senate hearing on competition within the ticketing industry. The goal of these hearings will be to determine whether or not Ticketmaster has violated antitrust laws in an attempt to monopolize the ticket industry.

Following the release of her 10th studio album “Midnights,” Swift announced she would be starting the U.S. leg of her sixth tour in March 2023. Demand is incredibly high, as this is her return to touring since the Reputation Tour in 2018. She’s put out four original albums and two re-recorded albums with unreleased “vault” songs since. 

When The Eras tour was announced, loyal fans had the opportunity to receive presale codes and boosts through supporting Swift by streaming her music and buying merchandise from her official store. Some of Swift’s fans, widely known as Swifties, who received presale codes got locked out of their accounts when the site crashed or were victims of the presale reschedule, which was pushed back by hours at a time twice on the West Coast.

While two presales and a general sale were planned back to back, Ticketmaster announced that 

due to “extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand,” the general sale for the tour had been canceled after just one presale. 

The fans who were lucky enough to get to the front of the queue and purchase tickets likely still paid far above market value due to Ticketmaster’s high fees and dynamic pricing. There were also countless resellers and ticket-snatching bots flooding the site, making it even more difficult for fans to secure their tickets.

In a recent interview with NPR, Senator Klobuchar explained that Ticketmaster has been able to get away with its hidden and high fees because “there is no incentive for fair prices and superior offerings and innovation if you’re the only company in town.”

At the end of 2019, Live Nation, who merged with Ticketmaster in 2010, came to an agreement with the Department of Justice to extend their consent decree after being accused of coercing venues to use Ticketmaster. The BOTS Act of 2016 allows the government the authority to put an end to automated scalpers and members of congress are currently working with the Federal Trade Commission to determine if they’ll be making plans to crack down on bots.

While the future of Ticketmaster is still unclear, they’ve made the mistake of messing with some of the most powerful fans in the world. Swifties are relentlessly advocating for a more just ticket buying system after being duped trying to get seats to The Eras tour.

A common issue fans faced while trying to purchase tickets was a glitch on the Ticketmaster website that caused them to lose their place in the queue.

California State University Monterey Bay student Natalie Gonzalez said that she was “in the queue for five hours and got kicked out when I was next in line.” 

While the process for buying tickets proved to be extremely difficult, it was not impossible. Student Jose Alvarez was able to buy four tickets through Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan presale.

Following her fans’ chaotic experience trying to secure a seat in her audience, Swift promptly released a statement on her Instagram in support of her fans, and in clear disdain for Ticketmaster without mentioning the company by name.

“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,” said Swift. “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.”

An official date for the Ticketmaster Senate hearings has yet to be announced, but Swifties all across the country will definitely be tuning in to see how Ticketmaster tries to shake this off.

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