Ticketmaster apologises to Taylor Swift fans over presale disaster as Justice Department mounts investigation

Ticketmaster has apologised to Taylor Swift and her fans after sales for her Eras tour descended into chaos this week.

The events giant issued a statement on Tuesday night after Swift shared her frustration with fans struggling to get tickets for the tour as the website repeatedly crashed.

“We want to apologize to Taylor and all of her fans – especially those who had a terrible experience trying to purchase tickets. Next, we feel we owe it to everyone to share some information to help explain what happened,” Ticketmaster wrote in a statement.

It went on to outline the massive demand for tour tickets, saying that it’s technical infrastructure was not prepared to handle it.

The statement came after the US Justice Department opened an antitrust investigation into Ticketmaster’s parent company that will look into whether Live Nation Entertainment has abused its power in the live music industry.

According to a new report by The New York Times, the investigation predates the latest fiasco.

In recent months, members of the Justice Department’s antitrust division have spoken with music venues and industry workers, under the request of anonymity, about Live Nation’s practices.

The Independent has contacted Live Nation and the Justice Department for comment.

Meanwhile, Swift addressed the controversy around the Eras tour in her own statement on Instagram Friday.

After stating that she is “protective” of her fans, Swift expressed her discomfort with seeing so many of her fans affected by the ticket difficulties.

“It’s really difficult for me to trust an outside entity with these relationships and loyalties, and excruciating for me to just watch mistakes happen with no recourse.”

She continued: “I’m not going to make excuses for anyone because we asked them, multiple times, if they could handle this kind of demand and we were assured they could. It’s truly amazing that 2.4million people got tickets, but it really p***es me off that a lot of them feel like they went through several bear attacks to get them.”

The “Anti-Hero” singer concluded her message with the hope that there would be additional chances for fans to enjoy the music together.

“And to those who didn’t get tickets, all I can say is that my hope is to provide more opportunities for us to all get together and sing these songs,” she wrote. “Thank you for wanting to be there. You have no idea how much that means.”

Tickets for the North American leg of Swift’s 2023 tour were released via fan presale on Tuesday (15 November), following the drop of her latest album, Midnights, last month. (You can read The Independent’s five-star review here.)

However, event site Ticketmaster crashed for some hopeful supporters, with many expressing their disappointment on social media.

Soon after the presale launched, tickets emerged on resale sites for as much as $22,000 (£18,500).

The general sale was originally scheduled to take place on Friday (18 November), but was ultimately cancelled due to “extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory”.

Taylor Swift Tickets (AP2009)
Taylor Swift Tickets (AP2009)

In 2010, the Justice Department approved a merger between Live Nation and Ticketmaster, thus creating the giant powerhouse whose power has remained unmatched in the entertainment business.

Before the start of the 2020 pandemic, Live Nation’s annual report showed its previous year of business sold 485 million tickets to its 40,000 events worldwide.

Ahead of the approved merger, the Justice Department reached a 10-year settlement with Live Nation, lasting until 2020, which prohibited the company from threatening to bar venues’ access to their tours if those venues chose to use other ticket providers.

Although, following an investigation in late 2019, the Justice Department found that Live Nation had violated the settlement repeatedly.

The settlement was then extended until 2025, with clarifications made to the agreement regarding what the company was allowed to do when negotiating ticketing deals with venues.

A source, claiming knowledge of the matter, told the outlet that members of the Justice Department have questioned Live Nation on whether or not the company is complying with the agreement.