Taylor Swift: Ticketmaster fiasco ‘excruciating for me’

New York
CNN Business

Taylor Swift spoke out Friday about the ticket bust this week, as many fans were unable to purchase tickets for her upcoming tour on Ticketmaster.

“It goes without saying that I am extremely protective of my fans,” Swift wrote on Instagram on Friday. “It’s really hard for me to trust an outside entity with these relationships and loyalties, and it’s excruciating for me to just watch mistakes happen without any recourse.”

Swift blamed Ticketmaster for the snafu, noting that there were “a lot of reasons why people had such a hard time” getting tickets.

“I’m not going to make excuses for anyone because we asked them many times if they could handle these kinds of demands and we were assured that they could,” the singer wrote. “It’s really amazing that 2.4 million people got tickets, but it pisses me off that so many of them feel like they went through a lot of bear attacks to get them.”

Swift added that she would try to “figure out how this situation can be improved moving forward.”

Sales for the singer’s new Eras tour opened on Tuesday, but high demand overwhelmed the ticketing website, angering fans who were unable to get tickets. Customers complained about Ticketmaster not loading, saying the platform wouldn’t allow them to access tickets, even if they had a presale code for verified fans.

On Thursday, Ticketmaster announced that the general public sale, which was due to start on Friday, had been canceled due to “extremely high demands on its ticketing systems and insufficient ticket inventory to meet this demand”.

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“To those who didn’t get tickets, all I can say is I hope to give more opportunities to get together and sing these songs,” Swift added.

Taylor Swift is one of the most popular artists in music.  This popularity made it difficult to find a ticket for her new tour.

The issues for Ticketmaster began on Tuesday when the site began selling its “verified fans” — a mechanism aimed at weeding out bots that give out presale codes to private individuals.

The “verified fan” platform was created in 2017 to help Ticketmaster handle high-demand situations, but with more than 3.5 million people pre-registering as Swift’s “verified fans,” the system is becoming overwhelmed. This is the largest subscription in the company’s history, according to Ticketmaster.

“Historically, working with Verified Fan invite codes has worked as we’ve been able to manage the volume of people coming to the site to purchase tickets,” the company wrote Thursday in a since-removed blog post. “However, this time the staggering number of bot attacks as well as fans who did not have invite codes resulted in unprecedented traffic to our website.”

Ticketmaster noted that it “typically takes us about an hour to sell through a stadium show,” but the site slowed some sales while delaying others to “stabilize systems.” That stopped everything.

The site appeared to have avoided major trouble Wednesday when presales for Capital One credit cardholders began. But the company’s inability to cope with demand for Swift’s tour as well as a lack of tickets to meet further demand effectively killed Friday’s planned sale to the general public.

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Fans blamed Ticketmaster while others, including members of Congress, sharply criticized the company’s control of the live music industry.

“Ticketmaster’s strength in the mainstream ticketing market insulates it from the competitive pressures that typically push companies to innovate and improve their services,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar wrote in an open letter to her CEO on Wednesday. “This can lead to the types of dramatic service failures we’ve seen this week, where consumers are the ones paying the price.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal echoed Klobuchar’s concerns, tweeting that the tour “is a perfect example of how the Live Nation/Ticketmaster merger is hurting consumers by creating a near monopoly.”

“I have long urged the Department of Justice to investigate the state of competition in the ticketing industry,” he said he said. “Consumers deserve better than this anti-hero behavior.”

Taylor Swift kicks off her new tour next March.  It hits 52 stadiums across the US.

The backlash also highlighted Swift’s immense popularity

The pop star has had countless hits throughout her career, has developed a very loyal following – better known as “Swifties” – and recently became the first artist to simultaneously claim all top 10 spots on the Billboard Hot 100 following the release of her latest album , “Midnights,” which was released last month.

The Eras tour – which kicks off in Glendale, Arizona on March 17th and wraps up in Los Angeles on August 9th – hits 52 venues across the US.

Ticketmaster noted Thursday that more than two million tickets were sold Tuesday for Swift’s upcoming tour — the most ever for an artist in one day. The company also said ticket demand for the Eras Tour was double that of the top five 2022 tours and the Super Bowl combined.

“Based on the amount of traffic to our website, Taylor will need to perform over 900 stadium shows (almost 20 times the number of shows she does),” Ticketmaster wrote Thursday. “This is a stadium show every night for the next 2.5 years.”

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Tickets for Swift’s upcoming tour have also fetched astronomical prices on ticket resale sites, with some tickets being listed for tens of thousands of dollars.

Since her debut album in 2006, Swift has also established herself as a hugely influential cultural icon for moving the needle on issues in the industry. She has taken music streaming services like Spotify ( SPOT ) and Apple Music to task over artist fees and is currently re-recording her songs to reclaim ownership of her masters.

In many ways, like Swift, so is the music industry.

Serona Elton, a music industry professor at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music, further explained Swift’s popularity by noting her success in both music sales and touring. Most music is now consumed via streaming, he said, which is more popular with younger generations who skew slightly towards women.

“The demographic that drives the highest percentage of music consumption sees themselves in it and relates closely to what he’s singing,” he said.


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