Taylor Swift concert ticket problems shine new light on Ticketmaster

The company is now the subject of a federal investigation

The problems Taylor Swift fans experienced getting tickets to her recently announced The Era’s tour is shining a new light on Ticketmaster.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The problems Taylor Swift fans experienced getting tickets to her recently announced The Era’s tour is shining a new light on Ticketmaster.

The company is now the subject of a federal investigation. U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who chairs a committee focused on consumer protection, announced she wants the Department of Justice to investigate Ticketmaster after it canceled the general public sale of concert tickets for Swift’s upcoming tour.

Klobuchar wrote Ticketmaster’s CEO in an open letter, saying, “I write to express serious concerns about the state of competition in the ticketing industry and its harmful impact on consumers. Reports about system failures, increasing fees, and complaints of conduct that violate the consent decree Ticketmaster is under suggest that Ticketmaster continues to abuse its market positions.”

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says Ticketmaster, which merged with Live Nation, is a monopoly that she believes needs to be reined in.

TELL US: What kind of experience have you had using Ticketmaster, and what do you think should change?

Roughly 3.5 million Swift fans had already signed up for the chance to buy tickets — the largest registration in pop music history. But Ticketmaster said it received more than 3.5 billion system requests to buy tickets on Tuesday. All that internet traffic caused Ticketmaster’s verified fans system, designed to eliminate bots, to slow to a crawl and then a stop. Lawmakers are demanding answers, as fans are reporting Ticketmaster charges exorbitant fees to pay for a broken system.

“It was millions and millions of people logged on to Ticketmaster because they were the only one selling tickets. So it was just completely overloading their system,” said Kelly Roy, who did get tickets.

Row considers herself one of the lucky ones, scoring floor seats 11 rows back from Swift for one of her concerts in Atlanta. Millions of other fans, however, are left empty-handed, after Ticketmaster called off the general ticket sale scheduled for Friday because of the high demand.

“They keep saying they don’t know why or how this happened. But they gave out the presale codes. They know exactly how many presale codes they gave out, so they should have known how much traffic was coming to the site and been prepared for that,” Roy said. “But what ended up happening was absolutely insane.”

Row said she paid nearly 20% of the tickets’ price in fees to Ticketmaster, while some customers report paying as much as 37% of their ticket price in fees.

Ticketmaster posted on social media earlier this week, saying, “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.”

Some fans said Ticketmaster took their money and didn’t deliver.

“Ticketmaster takes the $490 out of my account, but it like crashed,” one TikTok user said.

News4JAX viewers are also talking about their experience with Ticketmaster

“I Registered for a presale using 6 different emails and accounts in attempt to be selected through 1 of them and was waitlisted on all. Fishy!” Jesse wrote.

Julia wrote, “I was waiting in line for hours to access tickets, reached the front of the line and was then shut out of the ticket purchasing process.”

Roy said more needs to be done to make the ticketing process more efficient and fair across the board.

“I just think whatever it takes to not repeat what happened on Tuesday and Wednesday is definitely important. I do think letting other people or other companies sell tickets would mitigate a lot of the issues,” Roy said.

Complaints about Ticketmaster’s monopoly power go back to 1994 when the rock group Pearl Jam filed a complaint with the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. That complaint was dismissed. This latest complaint is focused on whether Live Nation, which merged with Ticketmaster, abuses its power over the multibillion-dollar live music industry.

As for Swift fans, if they want to attend the concerts, they are now forced to buy tickets through resellers charging thousands of dollars for a single ticket.

On Friday, Swift posted a story on Instagram addressing the fiasco surrounding ticket sales for her upcoming tour and Ticketmaster.

Taylor Swift's statement regarding Ticketmaster. (Taylor Swift Instagram)

About the Author:

Tarik anchors the 4, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. weekday newscasts and reports with the I-TEAM.