Taylor Swift tour ticket fiasco sparks calls for Ticketmaster and Live Nation to part ways
There’s something about Taylor Swift and breakups.
Activists and lawmakers are renewing calls to split Ticketmaster and Live nation following a ticket sales fiasco for the pop superstar’s upcoming “Eras” tour, which kicks off in March.
Live Nation, which merged with Ticketmaster in 2010, has long faced criticism over its size and power in the entertainment industry. People amplified their complaints this week when tickets for Swift tickets went on pre-sale on Ticketmaster’s website. The company was forced to extend the presale after fans flocked to the site, causing site disruptions and slow queues.
Ticket buyers immediately took to social media to complain after the website appeared to crash or freeze during purchases, preventing many from getting tickets to the show. Some users were seeing an error page that said, “We’re sorry! Something went wrong on our end and we need to start over. Broken things are annoying – our team is working on it, so it won’t happen again.”
Lawmakers are also calling on the Justice Department to investigate the company.
“Daily reminder that Ticketmaster is a monopoly,” Rep. wrote. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, DN.Y., in a Tweet Tuesday. “The merger with LiveNation should never have been approved, and they should be ruled. Break them up.”
Similarly, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., called Swift’s tour sales “a perfect example of how the merger between Live Nation and Ticketmaster hurts consumers by creating a near-monopoly,” in a Tweet posted Tuesday.
“I have long urged DOJ to investigate the competitive situation in the ticket industry,” he added. “Consumers deserve better than this anti-hero behavior.”
Live Nation representatives did not immediately respond to TBEN’s request for comment.
Others complained about long wait times and confusion over “verified fan” tickets and presale codes. Established in 2017, the Verified Fan Program is designed to keep tickets in the hands of true fans, not resellers.
But that turned out not to work in several cases. Within hours, tickets for the tour were already on sale on the secondary market at exponential increments.
“Eras” tour tickets are priced from $49 to $450, with VIP packages starting at $199 and going up to $899. Prices on the secondary market range from $800 to $20,000 per ticket.
“The [Taylor Swift] portal isn’t going well for a lot of Swifties,” Representative Bill Pascrell, DN.J., wrote in a tweet Tuesday. “I’m hearing about site crashes and fans waiting for hours. You would think that all these service and convenience costs could go to a working website.”
Activists have accused Ticketmaster and Live Nation of abusing their market power and have called for the company to be broken up.
“Despite promises of increased competition and consumer benefit, they now control 70% of the primary ticketing and live event market,” said a coalition of activists called “Break Up Ticketmaster.” “They’re raising ticket prices, charging scam fees, and exploiting artists, independent venues, and fans. The Justice Department can undo this merger and bring competition back to the industry. Help us demand that they do.”
Swift’s latest tour, which follows her record-breaking new album release “Midnights,” has logged 52 dates to date, the singer’s biggest tour to date. The “Eras” tour could break Swift’s own record for gross ticket sales in North America.