After an epic failure of a ticket rollout that drew a reprimand from Taylor Swift herself, nearly two dozen fans of the singer decided to file a lawsuit against Ticketmaster over its handling of The Tour pre-sale. Swift eras.
More than 20 Swifties are suing Ticketmaster, which is owned by Live Nation Entertainment, for various charges including “fraud, price fixing and antitrust violations.” Additionally, the lawsuit alleges “intentional deception” on the part of the ticketing giant that allowed bots and scalpers to grab tickets that many Swift fans waited for hours to try to buy during the presale – only to deal with issues including website not working properly, sales not completing, and much more.
Swifties sues Ticketmaster
For example, “Ticketmaster claimed that only those with codes could participate in the presale, but millions of shoppers without codes were able to obtain tickets,” the lawsuit states. “Many of those who didn’t have a code were scalpers, and Ticketmaster benefited from scalped tickets because they have to be resold on Ticketmaster, which collects an additional fee.”
What happened:As a reminder, this all stems from Ticketmaster’s launch last month of a verified fan presale for Swift’s upcoming “Eras” tour – her first in years, and for which demand was unsurprisingly off the charts.
Ticketmaster, while noting in an apologetic statement that it managed to sell 2 million tickets on launch day, was nonetheless unprepared for the overwhelming demand. Its systems struggled to keep up, for example, and frequently greeted customers with outages and long wait times. For unexplained reasons, customers were sometimes unable to close sales at all.
“It really pisses me off”
The debacle was another black eye for one of America’s most hated companies, and even drew condemnation from not just Swift – who bubbled up in a statement via her Instagram account that the situation “me really pisses off” – but also from New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain.
AOC, for example, tweeted the following: “Daily reminder that Ticketmaster is a monopoly.” Plus, she continued, her merger with event promoter Live Nation “should never have been approved… Break ’em up.”
In an interview with CNBC, the CEO of Ticketmaster’s largest shareholder (Greg Maffei of Liberty Media) seemed to blame, believe it or not, Taylor herself for all of this.
“The reality is that it’s a function of massive demand for Taylor Swift,” Maffei said. “The site was supposed to be open to 1.5 million verified Taylor Swift fans. We had 14 million people on the site – including bots, another story, who aren’t supposed to be there. And despite all the challenges and breakdowns, we sold over 2 million tickets that day. We could have filled 900 stadiums.
At the end of the line: I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Ticketmaster is a company of rapacious costume-wearing vampires that have systematically turned the concert industry into a sleazy and universally despised cabal. Ticketmaster has a job to do. And yet, the company continues to trot out the same tired old excuse when it can’t do this job satisfactorily: too many people! We had no idea! So much requested!
“I’m not going to apologize to anyone because we’ve asked them many times if they can handle this kind of request and we’ve been assured they can,” Swift wrote on her Instagram account. “It really pisses me off that a lot of (fans) feel like they went through multiple bear attacks to get (tickets).”