Ticketmaster apologies for Taylor Swift tour sales fiasco

During the November pre-sale of artist Taylor Swift’s upcoming ‘Eras’ tour, Ticketmaster could not keep up with the high demand of tickets for her fans, “the Swifties.” So Ticketmaster canceled Swift’s concert ticket sales, saying “extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand.”

Now on Tuesday, January 24, 2023, Live Nation (Ticketmaster’s parent company which emerged in 2010) president and CFO Joe Berchtold are facing significant backlash from fans and faced lawmakers in court. 

In his testimony at court on Tuesday, Joe Berchtold blamed the ticketing incident on the bots. He said, “We were then hit with three times the amount of bot traffic than we had ever experienced”, which led to the “slowing down and pausing our sales” and a “terrible consumer experience” which they deeply regret. Berchtold went on to defend his company throughout the entire hearing saying, it was all the bots. 

But other members of the entertainment industry and company rivals stood up against Ticketmaster during this hearing. Jack Groetzinger, CEO of SeatGeek told lawmakers, “The only way to restore competition in this industry is to break up Ticketmaster and Live Nation,”. He states, Live Nation controls some of the most famous artists in the world and operates their tours, venues, and most importantly their ticketing systems. “This power over the entire live entertainment industry allows Live Nation to maintain its monopolistic influence over the primary ticketing market,” Groetzinger argued. If Live Nation remains both the dominant tour operator and ticketer of main venues in America, the industry will continue to lack “competition and struggle”. 

Senator Amy Klobuchar, who chairs the US Senate committee on consumer rights, also stood up against Ticketmaster. She says Ticketmaster is responsible for 70% of ticket sales in the US. She continued to add, “The high fees, site disruptions, and cancellations that customers experienced shows how Ticketmaster’s dominant market position means the company does not face any pressure to continually innovate and improve.” She referred to Live Nation as a monopoly. 

But around the end of this hearing, some realized, there was no easy solution. Some lawmakers wanted to focus on reselling the tickets to fans while others focused on restricting the ability to transfer tickets. Live Nation’s executive was in favor of restricting the tickets but Groetzinger was not. He said this might only set more dominance for Live Nation. 


Fun Fact!

In this hearing, both Democratic and Republican lawmakers used the chance to use some of Taylor Swift’s popular lyrics in their statements, scolding Live Nation. Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn used the phrase, “Ticketmaster outta look in the mirror and say, ‘I’m the problem. It’s me.” Another Senator, Mike Lee, R-Utah, said in his closing statement, “‘Karma is a relaxing thought. Aren’t you envious that for you it’s not?'”

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