Ticketmaster has issued a lengthy explainer about what led to the chaos that erupted over tickets for Taylor Swift’s “The Eras Tour,” which went on sale on Nov. 15. The company’s website crashed because of the fan demand, while tons of fans who did get into the queue had to wait for over two hours to get a chance at purchasing tickets. Other fans got blindsided by being sent to a wait list. Backlash against Ticketmaster exploded, with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calling for the company’s merger with LiveNation to be broken up.
“The Eras on sale made one thing clear: Taylor Swift is an unstoppable force and continues to set records,” Ticketmaster wrote in its explanation. “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 had Taylor Swift fans pre-register as Verified Fans before the sale. The company uses the Verified Fan program “to help manage high demand shows — identifying real humans and weeding out bots. Keeping bots out of queues and avoiding overcrowding helps to make waits shorter and on sales smoother.” Over 3.5 million fans pre-registered for Taylor’s Verified Fan program, the largest registration in Ticketmaster’s history.
According to Ticketmaster, two million Verified Fans got sent to a waiting list and 1.5 million were given the chance to buy tickets when the sale started. Ticketmaster decided on this split because “historically, 40% of invited fans actually show up and buy tickets, and most purchase an average of 3 tickets.”
“Historically, working with Verified Fan invite codes has worked as we’ve been able to manage the volume coming into the site to shop for tickets,” Ticketmaster said. “However, this time the staggering number of bot attacks as well as fans who didn’t have invite codes drove unprecedented traffic on our site, resulting in 3.5 billion total system requests — 4x our previous peak.”
Ticketmaster added, “It usually takes us about an hour to sell through a stadium show, but we slowed down some sales and pushed back others to stabilize the systems. The trade off was longer wait times in queue for some fans.”
“The Eras Tour” ended up breaking a Ticketmaster record as over two million tickets were sold for Swift’s shows on Nov. 15, the most tickets ever sold for an artist in a single day.
“Even when a high demand on sale goes flawlessly from a tech perspective, many fans are left empty handed,” Ticketmaster said. “For example: based on the volume of traffic to our site, Taylor would need to perform over 900 stadium shows (almost 20x the number of shows she is doing)… that’s a stadium show every single night for the next 2.5 years.”
“While it’s impossible for everyone to get tickets to these shows, we know we can do more to improve the experience and that’s what we’re focused on,” the company concluded.