Last month Taylor Swift released her 10th album Midnights, which shocked the recording industry by selling the equivalent of 1,578,000 copies. Songs from the album also occupied every slot of Billboard’s Top 10 singles chart, the first time in history that an artist has achieved this feat. Needless to say, anticipation for Swift’s upcoming tour grew to massive proportions on the eve of a pre-sale event planned for earlier this week. Ticketmaster established a Verified Fan program to keep out bots and scalpers in favor of genuine “Swifties,” who had to set up profiles on the site using personal information like phone numbers and home addresses.
Despite these precautions, though, millions of fans were locked out of the ticket buying process as Ticketmaster faced a flood of 3.5 billion system requests, four times its previous peak. While more than 3.5 million people registered through the Verified Fan program, only 1.5 million obtained a special access code which “invited” them to purchase tickets for Swift’s tour. The rest of the fans were placed on a waiting list as 2 million tickets sold out on Tuesday alone. Those who managed to make it through the verification process still faced technical difficulties and long wait times that could stretch on for hours. One fan waited over six hours on the Ticketmaster website, only to find one seat available at the edge of the stadium when she finally got through. Others complained about the number of tickets that popped up on resale sites like StubHub, many marked up to more than $10,000.
All of this chaos caused Ticketmaster to cancel its public ticket sale planned for today, citing “extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand.” According to Greg Maffei, chairman of Ticketmaster’s parent company Live Nation, the enormous popularity of the artist overwhelmed the site’s core capabilities. “It’s a function of Taylor Swift,” said Maffei. “The site was supposed to open up for 1.5 million verified Taylor Swift fans. We had 14 million people hit the site, including bots, which are not supposed to be there.” Swifties have not been so forgiving, however, with Instagram and TikTok full of posts from angry fans directing their ire toward the company. Their criticisms have been echoed by some legislators, who reignited a debate that the merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster resulted in a monopoly that should be regulated or split up.
- Why are Taylor Swift fans angry with Ticketmaster? How could this affect the company’s reputation going forward?
- Do you think Ticketmaster constitutes a monopoly that should be broken up or regulated? Why or why not?