Taylor Swift’s 2023 US concert tour was supposed to go on sale to the general public on Friday, but 3.5 billion ticket requests from fans, bots, and scalpers deluged Ticketmaster’s website on that day, setting a new record for demand. Meanwhile, customer complaints about expensive prices and subpar service grew, and prominent US Congressmen publicly urged the US Department of Justice (DOJ) to look into Ticketmaster on the basis of possible antitrust violations.
The entertainment industry was already buzzing about the American singer’s eagerly awaited “Eras” tour, her first in five years. The most tickets ever sold for an artist in a single day during the “presale” round on Tuesday totaled over 2 million, according to Ticketmaster. Nevertheless, the lengthy wait times and website disruptions left many fans dissatisfied, and many could not get tickets. When the remaining tickets might go back on sale was not immediately known. Representatives of Ticketmaster did not immediately reply to requests for interviews to address the criticism, but the firm—whose parent business is Live Nation Entertainment Inc.—did issue a statement admitting the problems faced by fans.
According to Ticketmaster, the most registered verified fans totaled 3.5 million, a record. According to Ticketmaster, it intended to put 1.5 million of those people on a waiting list and invite 1.5 million of them to participate in the sale for all 52 performance dates, including the 47 that Ticketmaster sold. However, it claimed that the scheme was jeopardized by “bot” attacks—automated software requests—as well as demand from those who had not previously registered.
The astonishing number of bot attacks and fans without invite codes resulted in 3.5 billion total system requests, which is four times as much as at our previous peak, according to Ticketmaster. Never before has a sale of a Verified Fan attracted so much attention or unwelcome volume. Swift’s 20-city, 52-date stadium tour is slated to kick up in Arizona in March and conclude in August with five performances at Los Angeles’ 70,000-seat SoFi Stadium. Members of the US Congress questioned the Live Nation and Ticketmaster merger in 2010 as a result of the issues.
US Senator Richard Blumenthal posted on Thursday, “I’ve long pushed DOJ to investigate the situation of competition in the ticketing sector.” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a US representative, provided a link to an online petition requesting that the Justice Department dissolve Ticketmaster. Senator Amy Klobuchar, the chair of the Senate antitrust panel, expressed “great concern about the condition of competition in the ticketing sector and its detrimental impact on consumers” in a letter to Ticketmaster.
The dominance of Ticketmaster in the primary ticket market shields it from the competitive forces that generally drive businesses to innovate and enhance their offerings, according to Klobuchar. Consumers may end up paying the price in the form of the spectacular service breakdowns we witnessed this week. The questions Klobuchar posed to Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino included how much the company had spent on system upgrades to accommodate demand spikes and what proportion of high-profile tour tickets were designated for presales.