If the headline sounds familiar, that’s because it’s from Taylor Swift’s current hit song “Anti-Hero” from her new album Midnights. Many people have bad blood with Ticketmaster after the website crashed while trying to get tickets to Swift’s “The Eras Tour” which starts Mar. 2023.
When tickets went on sale on Nov. 15th, the company’s page crashed due to high demand, and many of the fans who did get tickets had to wait in line for over two hours to pay for them. Other fans were caught off guard by being on the waitlist.
Jennifer Mercado, a third-year student who is studying English has very strong feelings about her experience trying to get tickets. “I have been a Taylor Swift fan for about ten years now and was looking forward to getting concert tickets for the Eras tour since the pandemic began. I signed up for the Ticketmaster verified sale the day we were allowed to and patiently waited for any news following up until the day we’d get the code even if we got one. I felt like it was personally unfair that Ticketmaster allowed many people to sign up when not everyone would get the code. Then the 10 A.M. presale day happened and we’d seen the internet turn into chaos.”
Now, congress is getting involved. According to Variety, “…a US Senate antitrust panel will hold a hearing on the lack of competition in the industry.” This announcement was made by Senators Amy Klobuachr (D-MN) and Mike Lee (R-UT) on Nov. 22nd. This comes after there were delays on Ticketmaster’s website with tickets being unavailable. The hearing date and spectators will be declared later on and there is currently a hearing in the works.
As somewhat of an explanation given by Swift and her team on her Instagram account, she asked Ticketmaster ‘multiple times if they could handle this kind of demand and we were assured they could.’ Swift was very annoyed at this situation and added that it was, “Excruciating for me to just watch mistakes happen with no recourse.”
A representative for Ticketmaster’s parent company, Live Nation Entertainment, went back and mentioned the company’s testimony which said, “The Eras on sale made one thing clear: Taylor Swift is an unstoppable force and continues to set records. We strive to make ticket buying as easy as possible for fans, but that hasn’t been the case for many people trying to buy tickets for the Eras Tour. We want to share some information to help explain what happened.”
Ticketmaster received really bad reactions from multiple representatives, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes (D-NY) who wants Ticketmaster and Live Nation Entertainment to split up. Furthermore, Senator Klobuchar wrote a message to Ticketmaster communicating concern about the shortfall of rivalries in the ticketing business and doubting whether Ticketmaster is taking the proper actions to supply the best benefits it can to its customers.
Klobucar and Lee have made statements regarding the hearing, with Klobuchar stating:
“The high feels, site disruptions, and cancellations that customers experienced shows how Ticketmaster’s dominant market position means the company does not face any pressure to continually innovate and improve. That’s why we will hold a hearing on how consolidation in the live entertainment and ticketing industry harms customers and artists alike. When there is no competition to incentivize better services and fair prices, we all suffer consequences.”
Amy Seto, a senior and Design major, says that, “It was very messy and disheartening to see that Ticketmaster had all the power here and made people feel like they got scammed, taken advantage of, and less of a fan because they didn’t get picked in the luck system for something they really wanted to go to. Seeing that the general sale got canceled because of Ticketmaster’s lack of planning and organization was really unfortunate because it meant that everyone who got screwed over, who had their sites crashed and glitched, who wouldn’t pay thousands of dollars for reseller tickets, who didn’t have a Capital One card or got a code had no other opportunity to get tickets after the mess of the presale.”
Senator Lee says that, “I look forward to exercising our subcommittee’s oversight authority to ensure that anticompetitive mergers and exclusionary conduct are not crippling an entertainment industry already struggling to recover from pandemic lockdowns.”
Students at Queens College are reacting to the dysfunctional distribution of tickets by Ticketmaster. Dalia Schuh, a freshman whose major is undecided, says that, “First of all, Ticketmaster should have made people put their codes in before they were allowed to enter the queue. Second of all, Ticketmaster should not be allowing resell tickets for way over set prices on their own website.” Schuh thinks that nothing much is really going to come out of the hearing.
Fatoumata Drammeh, a sophomore who is studying psychology, says that she’s not sure if anything will come out of the hearing but has hopes. “What happened with Taylor Swift was just the breaking point since I believe Ticketmaster monopoly has been a burning issue since before all of this. I didn’t have the presale experience so I can’t offer much but I’m hoping the reading goes well. Even if nothing changed, what fans, (or Swifties), are doing is still a good start and can open the doors for change.”