chaos

Taylor Swift’s Ticketmaster Disaster Is Going to the Senate

Photo-Illustration: Rolf Vennenbernd/picture alliance via Getty Images

The Eras Tour hasn’t even started yet, and already it’s been a tough one for the Swifties. On the first day of presale tickets for the singer’s 2023 Eras Tour, millions swarmed Live Nation’s Ticketmaster hoping to snag tickets to the singer’s first tour in more than five years, only to be met by all sorts of issues — from hours-long waits and site outages to technical glitches and outrageously high ticket prices. To make matters worse, a few days later, Ticketmaster announced that it would be canceling the general sale entirely. Swifties were not impressed, and their anger seems to have made it all the way to the U.S. government.

Calling the Eras Tour ticket rollout a mess would be an understatement. Early tickets were going on Ticketmaster for $49 to $500, but resellers were quickly listing them for thousands. The Guardian reports that some tickets were $22,000. Now, Swifties want it known that these resellers are not real fans but “monsters.” And the biggest monster of all? Ticketmaster, which announced on Twitter on Thursday, “Due to extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand, tomorrow’s public on-sale for Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour has been cancelled,” breaking the hearts of Swifties everywhere.

Ticketmaster’s Swift meltdown has led to speculation on the nature of the ticketing giant with many people, including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, suggesting that this could be the thing that radicalizes Swifties against monopolies. “Daily reminder that Ticketmaster is a monopoly, its merger with LiveNation should never have been approved, and they need to be reigned in. Break them up,” AOC tweeted. (She later published an op-ed about it in Rolling Stone.) Meanwhile, Tennessee’s attorney general announced that his office was launching an investigation into Ticketmaster’s handling of the presale. The legal backlash reached new heights on Nov. 18, when the New York Times reported that the Justice Department is also investigating Live Nation for abusing its power over the music industry.

While I would like to believe that Swiftie Nation is powerful enough to tweet a federal investigation into existence, the Times notes that it started well before this particular fiasco as part of the Biden administration’s antitrust efforts. However, the fans have seemingly inspired the U.S. Senate antitrust panel to hold a hearing on Ticketmaster and the music touring industry. Senator Amy Klobuchar (the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, antitrust, and Consumer Rights) reportedly announced that they would be convening a hearing “on how consolidation in the live entertainment and ticketing industry harms customers and artists alike.”

On Friday, Swift herself addressed the mess in an Instagram story, writing, “It’s really difficult for me to trust an outside entity” when it comes to mediating her fans’ experience and “excruciating for me to just watch mistakes happen with no recourse.” Suggesting that her team had discussed the imminent frenzy of ticket-buyers with Ticketmaster ahead of time, she added that “we asked them, multiple times, if they could handle this kind of demand and we were assured they could.”

Although Swift has never been shy about going toe to toe with industry stalwarts, she didn’t indicate any plans to take on Ticketmaster and its monopoly on concert-ticket sales. “There are a multitude of reasons why people had such a hard time trying to get tickets,” she wrote, “and I’m trying to figure out how this situation can be improved moving forward.” She addressed fans who weren’t able to get tickets, concluding with “my hope is to provide more opportunities for us to all get together and sing these songs.”

This post has been updated.

Taylor Swift’s Ticketmaster Disaster Is Going to the Senate