Taylor Swift fans sue Ticketmaster over 'disastrous' presale debacle

Taylor Swift fans have been left angered after attempts to buy tickets to the singer's Era Tour were disrupted. Purchases on Ticketmaster appeared to be scooped up by bots and scalpers, who then resold it at drastic mark-ups.

There’s Bad Blood between Swifties and Ticketmaster.

A group of Taylor Swift fans have taken legal action against Ticketmaster and its parent company Live Nation over November’s presale fiasco, which left hundreds of thousands of fans without tickets to the singer’s 2023 Eras Tour.

The lawsuit takes issue with Ticketmaster’s Nov. 15 “Verified Fan” presale, a common practice by Ticketmaster that aims to limit the number of scalpers and bots buying tickets to popular shows by providing registered fans with a special ticket-buying code.

As per the lawsuit, which was obtained by Deadline, a small group of unified Swifties are suing the ticketing site for “fraud, price-fixing, and antitrust violations.”

The fans claim in the legal filing that “millions of fans waited up to eight hours and were unable to purchase tickets as a result of insufficient ticket releases and other issues similar to the prior presale.”

The fiasco came to a head on Nov. 17 when Ticketmaster cancelled the general sale for Swift’s U.S. Eras Tour “due to extraordinarily high demands.”

The fans allege Ticketmaster engaged in “intentional deception” during its presale and allowed scalpers to buy and resell the majority of tickets. The lawsuit claims Ticketmaster was “eager to allow” scalpers to buy tickets so that the company could collect fees for reselling seats on its website.

The filing claimed Ticketmaster allowed scalpers to remove tickets from fans’ digital carts before providing time for the prospective concertgoer to complete the sale.

Ticketmaster, which controls the primary concert ticket sales market, has not responded publicly to the lawsuit.

The company claimed more than 3.5 million people registered for the Taylor Swift presale. In a statement, Ticketmaster wrote it sold more than two million tickets on Nov. 15 and fielded 3.5 billion system requests — four times its previous peak.

Immediately following the presale, scalpers were attempting to resell Swift tickets for up to US$28,000 ($37,430).

The lawsuit claims that even if Ticketmaster did not intentionally engage in collusion with scalpers, the company was not ready to handle a ticket sale as high-demand as Swift’s.

The singer herself claimed the same in a statement after Ticketmaster cancelled The Eras Tour general sale. Swift, 32, wrote that she asked Ticketmaster “multiple times if they could handle this kind of demand and we were assured they could.”

Swift said she sympathized with her fans who felt like they were “going through several bear attacks” to try and score tickets.

A screenshot of Taylor Swift's Instagram story; white text on a blue background.

Taylor Swift posted a statement to her Instagram account about Ticketmaster's sale cancellation on Nov. 17, 2022.

Instagram / @taylorswift

Ticketmaster merged with Live Nation in 2010, resulting in control of more than 70 per cent of the primary ticketing and live event venues market.

The lawsuit filed by Swift’s fans acknowledged the monopoly that Ticketmaster holds over the sale of concert tickets.

“Because no other venue can hold half as many people as the stadiums and venues working through Ticketmaster, Taylor Swift and other popular musicians have no choice but to work through Ticketmaster,” the filing reads.

Also in November, the U.S. Justice Department launched an inquiry into whether Live Nation has abused its power in the multibillion-dollar live music industry. The investigation began before the Swift ticket sale outrage.

Live Nation denied any wrongdoing and claimed the company “takes its responsibilities under the antitrust laws seriously and does not engage in behaviors that could justify antitrust litigation.”

Ticketmaster echoed this sentiment in a statement to Deadline. The company wrote: “Ticketmaster has a significant share of the primary ticketing services market because of the large gap that exists between the quality of the Ticketmaster system and the next best primary ticketing system.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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