Taylor Swift: Ticketmaster Tour Chaos Explained: What Happened and Why Is the US Senate Involved? | Ent & Arts News

When Taylor Swift announced what would be her first tour in five years, demand for tickets was always high.

But following reports of service failures and delays on Ticketmaster’s website, the general sale was cancelled.

Ticketmaster handled ticket sales for most of the shows on the air Quickis the US leg of the 20-city, 52-date tour, although SeatGeek has sold tickets to a few performances in Texas and Arizona.

Many fans were disappointed. But this is more than just a story of frustrated Swifties: Now the US Senate is involved.

Here’s a look at what happened.

Midnight exit

In August, Swift revealed details for a new album, titled Midnights, which tells the stories of “13 sleepless nights” from her entire life.

The album, his tenth, was released on October 21 and immediately broke streaming records, with Spotify announcing it had become the most-streamed album in a single day, after users reported a huge spike in outages apparently caused by increased demand.

Following its release, Swift, 32, became the first artist to claim all top 10 spots on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, and the album and its lead single Anti-Hero also charted at No. one in the UK.

Midnights followed Folklore and Evermore, Swift’s forays into indie and folk that came out just five months apart in 2020 as the world was in various states of lockdown during the pandemic.

Not having toured since 2018, it seemed inevitable that an announcement would come…

The Eras ​​Tour arrives in 2023

Swift announced The Eras Tour on Nov. 1, telling fans it would be “a journey through the musical eras of my career (past and present!)”.

Dates have been announced for the US leg of the tour, which will kick off March 18, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona, with international shows to follow, the star said.

Swift also confirmed that she will be joined by a number of artists on the tour, including groups Paramore and Haim, and solo artists Phoebe Bridgers and Gracie Abrams.

He also shared a verification link for a pre-sale, which meant fans had to register first in order to purchase tickets.

“Extraordinarily High Demands”

On Thursday, November 17, the day before general tickets were to become available, Ticketmaster canceled the sale, citing “insufficient ticket inventory” to meet “extraordinarily high demand”.

It came after a pre-sale two days earlier caused the site to crash, leaving many fans frustrated and unable to get tickets.

The ticket company had previously asked fans on Twitter to be patient as “millions” tried to purchase pre-sale tickets, prompting “historically unprecedented demand.”

Swift fans, known as Swifties, have criticized the company on social media after experiencing long wait times and site outages during pre-sales. Some reported waiting in online queues for up to eight hours, with many finding they arrived too late to purchase tickets, which cost between $49 (£41) and $449 (£377) each.

“Impressive number of bot attacks”

In a statement, Ticketmaster said it had anticipated strong demand for tickets, but it was clearly even greater than anticipated.

A record 3.5 million people are registered as verified fans, the company said.

The plan was to invite 1.5 million people to attend the sale for all 52 dates of the show, including the 47 sold by Ticketmaster, with the other 2 million placed on a waitlist.

But that plan, Ticketmaster said, has been undermined by attacks from “bots” — automated software requests — as well as demand from those who didn’t register in advance.

“The staggering number of bot attacks and fans who didn’t have invite codes drove unprecedented traffic to our site, with a total of 3.5 billion system requests, 4x our previous peak,” he said. ticketmasters.

“Never before has a verified fan for sale garnered so much attention or unwanted volume.”

What did Swift say?

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Pic: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

After the defeat, Swift criticized Ticketmaster, saying she and her team were assured they could handle the expected increase in demand.

“It’s really hard for me to trust an external entity with these relationships and loyalties, and it’s heartbreaking for me to watch mistakes happen without recourse,” she wrote in an Instagram statement.

“There are a multitude of reasons why people have had a hard time trying to get tickets and I’m trying to figure out how this situation can be improved moving forward.

“I’m not going to make excuses for anyone because we asked them, multiple times, if they could handle this kind of request and we were assured they could.”

The star said 2.4 million fans were able to purchase tickets, which was “pretty amazing… but it really pisses me off that so many of them feel like they’ve had multiple bouts of bears to get them”. .

To those who missed out, he said he hoped to put on more shows.

Why is the US Senate involved?

UNITED STATES - May 14: Sens.  Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Mike Lee, R-Utah, are seen during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in the Dirksen Building titled
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Senators Amy Klobuchar and Mike Lee. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Appeal/AP

Ticketmaster, which overwhelmingly dominates the ticket industry, has left fans and artists frustrated for years with hidden fees, rising costs, and limited ticket availability due to pre-sales.

And when this kind of trouble hits Swift, arguably the biggest pop star in the world, it garners global attention. Which means US politicians are now looking into Ticketmaster’s dominance of the industry.

Senators Amy Klobuchar and Mike Lee — chair and ranking member, respectively, of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust and Consumer Rights — announced plans for a hearing.

“The problem of competition in ticket markets was made painfully obvious when Ticketmaster’s website let down hundreds of thousands of fans hoping to purchase concert tickets,” Klobuchar said.

“The high fees, site outages and customer cancellations experienced by customers demonstrate how Ticketmaster’s dominant market position means the company faces no pressure to continuously innovate and improve…

“When there is no competition to incentivize better services and fair prices, we all suffer the consequences.”

The problem goes “way beyond Taylor Swift,” he added on Twitter.

The hearing date and witnesses will be announced at a later date.

What does Ticketmaster say?

The company posted a lengthy explanation on its Ticketmaster Business website, saying it’s aware that a record number of fans would like to purchase tickets for Swift’s shows.

“First, we want to apologize to Taylor and all of her fans, especially those who had a terrible experience trying to buy tickets,” he said. “Afterward, we feel we owe it to everyone to share some information to help explain what happened.”

The company went on to say that the verified fan registration was designed to help manage the high demand, “by identifying real humans and weeding out bots.”

However, demand broke records, with 3.5 million system requests, it said, four times the previous peak. This unprecedented traffic “has broken the predictability and reliability” of verified fan registration.

“Swift would have to run a stadium show every night for 2.5 years to meet demand”

Taylor Swift performs during the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., October 30, 2021. REUTERS/Gaelen Morse

Ticketmaster said that despite the issues, around 2.4 million tickets had been sold, with two million on Ticketmaster making it the most tickets ever for any artist to sell in a single day.

He also said that less than 5% of tickets for the tour “were sold or released for resale on the secondary market,” while sales without the vetting process “typically see 20-30% of inventory ending up on the markets.” secondary”.

The company is now working “to prop up our technology to the new standard that’s been set by demand” for Swift’s tour.

He also said that even when online sales go “flawlessly tech-wise,” there are often fans who are left disappointed when they lose.

“For example: Based on the volume of traffic on our site, Taylor is expected to perform over 900 stadium shows (nearly 20 times the number of shows he is doing)…that’s one stadium show every night for the next 2 years and a half.

“While it’s impossible for everyone to get tickets to these shows, we know there’s more we can do to improve the experience and that’s what we’re focused on.”

Swifties in the UK and other countries outside the US are still awaiting details of the international dates and are hoping their ticket buying process will go a little smoother.

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