Taylor Swift addressed the ticket debacle this week as many fans were unable to buy tickets for her upcoming Ticketmaster tour on Friday.
“Needless to say, I am very protective of my fans,” Swift wrote on Instagram Friday. “It’s really hard for me to trust an outside entity with these relationships and allegiances, and it pains me to watch mistakes happen with no recourse.”
Swift blamed Ticketmaster for the confusion, noting that there are “many reasons why people are having trouble getting tickets.”
“I’m not going to make excuses for anyone as we’ve asked multiple times if they can handle this need and we’re sure they can,” the singer wrote. “It’s amazing that 2.4 million people got tickets, but it annoys me that a lot of them felt like they had to go through a couple of bear attacks to get their tickets.”
Swift added that she will try to “figure out how to improve the situation.”
The singer’s new Eras tour went on sale on Tuesday, but high demand has stymied ticket sites and angered fans who couldn’t snag tickets. Customers complained that Ticketmaster wasn’t loading, saying the platform didn’t allow them to access tickets even though they had pre-sale codes from verified fans.
On Thursday, Ticketmaster announced it was canceling its public-facing sale, which was scheduled to start on Friday, due to “extremely high demand for the ticketing system and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand.”
“For those of you who didn’t get tickets, all I can say is, I hope there are more opportunities for us to come together and sing these songs,” Swift added.
Ticketmaster’s problems started on Tuesday, when the site started selling to “verified fans” — a mechanism designed to eliminate bots that offer pre-sale codes to individuals.
The Verified Fans platform was created in 2017 to help Ticketmaster handle the huge demand, but with more than 3.5 million people pre-registering to become Swift Verified Fans, the system became overwhelmed. According to Ticketmaster, this is the largest registration in the company’s history.
“Historically, using the ‘Verify Follower’ invite code has worked, as we have been able to manage the volume of entry into the site to purchase tickets,” the company wrote in a now-deleted blog post on Thursday. “However, the number of bot attacks this time was staggering, and fans without invite codes drove unprecedented traffic to our site.”
Ticketmaster noted that “normally it takes us about an hour to get a sale through a stadium show,” but the site has slowed down some sales while delaying others to “stabilize the system.” This brings everything to a halt.
The site appeared to avoid major issues Wednesday when Capital One credit cardholders began pre-sales. But the company’s inability to handle demand for Swift’s tour and a lack of tickets to meet further demand essentially killed plans to go on sale to the public on Friday.
Fans blamed Ticketmaster, while others, including members of Congress, sharply criticized the company’s control of the live music industry.
“Ticketmaster’s power in key ticketing markets insulates it from the competitive pressures that would normally drive the company to innovate and improve its service,” Senator Amy Klobuchar wrote in an open letter to its CEO on Wednesday. “It could lead to the kind of dramatic service failures we saw this week, and 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 is hurting consumers by creating a near-monopoly.”
“I have long urged the Justice Department to investigate competition in the ticketing industry,” he said. Say. “Consumers deserve something better than this anti-hero.”
The Justice Department has opened an antitrust investigation into Ticketmaster owner Live Nation to see if the company monopolizes the concert market, including ticket purchases, a person familiar with the matter told CNN. The New York Times first reported the investigation on Friday.
The Times added that the Justice Department has been contacting music venues and other ticketing market participants in recent months to ask about Live Nation’s practices and industry dynamics.
The Justice Department and Live Nation did not respond to CNN’s requests for comment.
Backlash also highlights Swift’s popularity
The pop star has racked up numerous hits throughout her career, built a super-loyal fan base — better known as “Swifties” — and recently became the first person to simultaneously hold the Billboard Hot 10 post-release. 100 Top 10 artist or her latest album, Midnight, released last month.
Her Eras Tour, which began March 17 in Glendale, Arizona, and concluded August 9 in Los Angeles, featured 52 stages across the United States.
Ticketmaster noted Thursday that more than 2 million tickets to Swift’s upcoming tour were sold on Tuesday — the most ever sold in a single day by the artist.The company also said demand for tickets to the Eras Tour is double that of the top five tours and the Super Bowl in 2022 merge.
“Based on traffic to our site, Taylor needs to perform more than 900 stage performances (nearly 20 times as many as she does),” Ticketmaster wrote on Thursday. “It’s going to be a stadium show every night for the next 2.5 years.”
Tickets for Swift’s upcoming tour have also resulted in sky-high prices on ticket resale sites, with some tickets priced in the tens of thousands of dollars.
Since her debut album in 2006, Swift has also established herself as a cultural icon with outsize influence, pushing the boundaries of industry issues. She has accepted artist pay on music streaming services like Spotify (SPOT) and Apple Music, and is currently re-recording her songs to reclaim ownership of the master tapes.
In many ways, what is true of Swift is true of the music industry.
Serona Elton, a music industry professor at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music, further explained Swift’s popularity by pointing to her success in music sales and touring. Most music is now consumed through streaming, she said, which is more popular among younger generations who are slightly skewed toward women.
“The demographic that drives the highest percentage of music consumption sees themselves in her and is very connected to what she sings,” she said.
– CNN’s Evan Perez and Tierney Sneed contributed to this report