Taylor Swift spoke on Friday about the box office debacle that took place this week, as many fans were unable to purchase tickets for her upcoming tour on Ticketmaster.
“It goes without saying that I am extremely protective of my fans,” Swift wrote on Instagram Friday. “It’s really hard for me to trust an outside entity with those connections and loyalties, and excruciating for me to just watch mistakes happen without recourse.”
Swift blamed Ticketmaster for the snafu, noting that there were a “multitude of reasons people had such a hard time” getting tickets.
“I’m not going to excuse anyone because we’ve asked them many times if they can handle this kind of request and we’ve been assured they can,” the singer wrote. “It’s really amazing that 2.4 million people got tickets, but it really pisses me off that a lot of them feel like they’ve suffered multiple bear attacks to get them.”
Swift added that she would try to “understand how this situation can be improved in the future”.
Sales for the singer’s new Eras tour began on Tuesday, but high demand rumbled through the ticketing site, infuriating fans who were unable to secure tickets. Customers complained about Ticketmaster not loading, saying the platform wouldn’t let them access tickets even if they had a presale code for verified fans.
On Thursday, Ticketmaster announced that the sale to the general public, which was due to begin on Friday, had been canceled due to “extraordinarily high demands on the ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet this demand”.
“To those who didn’t get tickets, all I can say is that I hope to give us more opportunities to come together and sing these songs,” Swift added.
Ticketmaster’s troubles began on Tuesday, when the site launched a sale for “verified fans” – a mechanism to weed out bots that give presale codes to individuals.
The ‘verified fan’ platform was created in 2017 to help Ticketmaster handle huge demand situations, but as more than 3.5 million people pre-registered to be a Swift ‘verified fan’, the system was submerged. It’s the biggest check-in in the company’s history, according to Ticketmaster.
“Historically, working with ‘Verified Fan’ invite codes has worked because we were able to manage the volume coming into the site to purchase tickets,” the company wrote Thursday in a blog post that has since been deleted. “However, this time the sheer number of bot attacks as well as fans who did not have invite codes drove unprecedented traffic to our site.”
Ticketmaster noted that it “usually takes us about an hour to sell through a stadium show,” but the site has slowed some sales while delaying others to “stabilize systems.” It stopped everything.
The site appeared to have avoided major problems on Wednesday when presales began for Capital One credit card holders. But the company’s inability to keep up with demand for Swift’s tour as well as a lack of tickets to meet the additional demand essentially killed Friday’s scheduled sale to the general public.
Fans blamed Ticketmaster while others, including members of Congress, strongly criticized the company’s control over the live music industry.
“Ticketmaster’s power in the core ticket market insulates it from the competitive pressures that typically drive companies to innovate and improve their services,” Senator Amy Klobuchar wrote in an open letter to her CEO on Wednesday. “It can lead to the kinds of dramatic service outages we’ve seen this week, where consumers are the ones paying the price.”
Senator Richard Blumenthal echoed Klobuchar’s concerns, tweeting that the tour “is a perfect example of how the Live Nation/Ticketmaster merger hurts consumers by creating a virtual monopoly.”
“I have long urged the DOJ to investigate the state of competition in the ticketing industry,” he said. said. “Consumers deserve better than this anti-hero behavior.”
The New York Times reported on Friday that the Justice Department has opened an antitrust investigation into Ticketmaster’s parent company Live Nation, citing people familiar with the matter. The investigation centers on whether Live Nation Entertainment abused its power over the live music industry, the Times wrote.
The Justice Department has reached out to concert venues and other ticket market players in recent months, asking about Live Nation’s practices and industry dynamics, the Times added.
The Justice Department and Live Nation did not respond to CNN’s requests for comment.
The backlash also highlighted the enormity of Swift’s popularity
The pop star has had countless hits over the course of her career, built up an ultra-loyal following of fans – better known as “Swifties” – and recently became the first artist to claim all 10 simultaneously. top spots on the Billboard Hot 100 after the release. from his latest album, “Midnights”, released last month.
His Eras Tour – which kicks off in Glendale, Arizona on March 17 and ends in Los Angeles on August 9 – hits 52 stadiums across the United States.
Ticketmaster noted on Thursday that more than two million tickets had been sold Tuesday for Swift’s upcoming tour – the most ever for any artist in a single day. The company also said ticket demand for the Eras Tour was twice that of the top five tours of 2022 and the Super Bowl. combined.
“Based on the volume of traffic to our site, Taylor would need to perform over 900 stadium shows (nearly 20 times the number of shows she does),” Ticketmaster wrote Thursday. “It’s a stadium show every night for the next 2.5 years.”
Tickets for Swift’s upcoming tour have also drawn astronomical prices on ticket resale sites, with some tickets listed for tens of thousands of dollars.
Since her debut album in 2006, Swift has also established herself as a cultural icon with immense influence in getting things done in the industry. She has taken on music streaming services like Spotify (SPOT) and Apple Music regarding artist compensation and is currently re-recording her songs to regain ownership of her masters.
In many ways, just like Swift, so is the music industry.
Serona Elton, music industry professor at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music, further explained Swift’s popularity noting her success in music sales and touring. Most music is now consumed via streaming, she said, which is more popular among younger generations who skew slightly towards women.
“The demographic group that generates the highest percentage of music consumption is seen in her and is closely tied to what she sings,” she said.