Taylor Swift and the DOJ Also Hate Ticketmaster
There are no more allies left for the ticketing website
What a week it’s been for Taylor Swift fans. Tears have been shed, threats have been made, and Ticketmaster is now public enemy No. 1 — knocking Jake Gyllenhaal from the top spot for the first time in a decade. To cap off the past four days, Swift finally spoke out about the bungled mess that was trying to get tickets for her upcoming Eras Tour.
Swift addressed her fans via Instagram story (god forbid it messes up the grid), writing out a block of text that explains her side of the story.
“There are a multitude of reasons why people had such a hard time trying to get tickets and I’m trying to figure out how this situation can be improved moving forward,” Swift wrote. “I’m not going to make excuses for anyone because we asked them, multiple times, if they could handle this kind of demand and we were assured they could. It’s truly amazing that 2.4 million people got tickets, but it really pisses me off that a lot of them feel like they went through several bear attacks to get them.”
Why she brought bears into this is unclear. What is obvious is that Swift, like her fans, is putting the blame on Ticketmaster fucking up. In a now-deleted blog post, Ticketmaster claimed that of the 3.5 million fans who registered for Verified Fan status, 1.5 million fans received presale codes. Those fans then bought 2 million tickets just on Tuesday, the first day of the presale, while also dealing with the website crashing and presale codes not working.
Swift did not address her fans’ other gripe, which was that due to Ticketmaster’s dynamic pricing model, people were asked to pay much more than had been previously advertised due to demand. Dynamic pricing can be turned off by the artist, which Swift apparently did not care to do. So she is “protective” of her fans, but not their wallets, interesting…
Also today, the New York Times reported the Department of Justice had opened an investigation into Live Nation, Ticketmaster’s parent company. According to the Times, the DOJ is looking into whether Live Nation has “abused its power over the multibillion-dollar live music industry.” I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the answer is very clear to anyone who has tried to buy a ticket to an arena tour in the past few years.
Per the Times, the DOJ inquiry had been in the works prior to the Swift debacle, and members of the department’s antitrust division are speaking with music venues and “players in the ticket market” about Live Nation’s practices. The new element of this is that the DOJ now has a legion of Swifties ready to learn all about antitrust law in order to abet them by any means necessary.
In her note, Swift said that she hopes to “provide more opportunities for us to all get together and sing these songs.” Whether that means adding more dates, some kind of pay-per-view livestream, or a mysterious third option is all speculation at this point. What we do know is that when she does figure it out, she’s going to make a lot of money from it.