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Ticketmaster issues apology to Taylor Swift fans over canceled tickets

After fans crashed its website with "historically unprecedented demand" during the presale process, Ticketmaster canceled the public ticket sale for Swift's "Eras Tour."
/ Source: TODAY

Ticketmaster issued a public apology to Taylor Swift fans after several flubs during the ticket sales process of her 2023 "The Eras Tour."

On Twitter, the company shared a short message with a link to a full statement on its website. 

“We want to apologize to Taylor and all of her fans — especially those who had a terrible experience trying to purchase tickets,” the tweet read. “We feel we owe it to everyone to share some information to help explain what happened.”

In the extended statement on its website, the company acknowledged a “record number of fans” were seeking tickets to the singer’s tour. Ticketmaster shared its methods to mitigate issues during the ticket sale process, including requiring registrations through its "verified fan" program to identity “real humans and weeding out bots.”

“We handle onsales for countless top tours, some of the biggest sporting events, and more,” the statement continued. “Never before has a Verified Fan onsale sparked so much attention — or traffic. This disrupted the predictability and reliability that is the hallmark of our Verified Fan platform.”

The company noted that a "staggering number of bot attacks as well as fans who didn’t have codes drove unprecedented traffic on our site, resulting in 3.5 billion total system requests — 4x our previous peak."

In response to the issues the company faced during the presale process, several politicians including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made a call to break up Ticketmaster’s merger with Live Nation Entertainment in a tweet. The New York Times also reported on Nov. 18 that the Department of Justice opened an antitrust investigation into Live Nation Entertainment, the owner of Ticketmaster.

In a statement provided to NBC News by Live Nation Entertainment, the company responded, in part:

Live Nation takes its responsibilities under the antitrust laws seriously and does not engage in behaviors that could justify antitrust litigation, let alone orders that would require it to alter fundamental business practices.

The concert promotion business is highly competitive, with artist management in control of selecting their promoting team. The demand for live entertainment continues to grow, and there are more promoters than ever working with artists to help them connect with fans through live shows. The Department of Justice itself recognized the competitive nature of the concert promotion business at the time of the Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger. That dynamic has not changed.

Live Nation Entertainment also referenced several of Ticketmaster’s competitors, including StubHub, SeatGeek and Vivid, adding, “No serious argument can be made that Ticketmaster has the kind of market position in secondary ticketing that supports antitrust claims.”

Presales for Swift's tour began Nov. 15. However, a “historically unprecedented demand” for tickets, according to Ticketmaster, caused several issues for fans trying to obtain tickets using their registered presale codes, including the company’s website crashing. Fans shared their frustrations across social media, reporting that codes were not working and people were being kicked out of the queue entirely.

Ticketmaster addressed the presale backlash in a statement, writing in part, “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.”

However, on Nov. 17, Ticketmaster announced that the public ticket sale set for Nov. 18 was to be canceled, which caused another uproar from fans on social media.

“Due to extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand, tomorrow’s public on-sale for Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour has been cancelled,” Ticketmaster tweeted.

Swift spoke out on social media on the day the public sale was scheduled to take place, releasing a statement in an Instagram story.

“It goes without saying that I’m extremely protective of my fans,” she wrote in part. “It’s really difficult for me to trust an outside entity with these relationships and loyalties, and excruciating for me to just watch mistakes happen with no recourse.”

Swift claimed that she and her team were “assured” by Ticketmaster that the platform would be able to withstand the demand from her fans.

“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,” Swift added. “And to those who didn’t get tickets, all I can say is that my hope is to provide more opportunities for us to all get together and sing these songs.”