Taylor Swift performing at a gala in Shanghai, China.Image Getty Images

    Why has Ticketmaster stopped ticket sales for Taylor Swift’s tour?

    It’s me, hi, I’m the problem‘, sings Swift in her latest hit Anti Hero, with which she has topped the United States’ top chart for three weeks. The text line summarizes the core of what went wrong, according to Ticketmaster, with the ticket sales of her new tour, the first since 2018: the singer is too popular.

    On Friday, all tickets for the 52 concerts of Swifts Era Tour by the United States that were left over after the pre-sale will go on sale. But because of the ‘extremely high interest’, Ticketmaster decided not to do so. There were “not enough tickets left to meet demand,” the company wrote on Twitter. It is not yet known what will happen to the remaining tickets.

    Why is this high interest a problem?

    That became clear during the presale, which had started on Tuesday. Barely twenty minutes after the first fans had the chance to get a ticket, the Ticketmaster website started to malfunction. Swifties, as Swift’s fan base calls themselves, complained about hours of waiting times. Some people even took a day off to get a concert ticket, but ended up empty-handed.

    What kind of company is Ticketmaster?

    Ticketmaster is the largest seller of concert tickets in the world. In 2019, the American company sold more than 485 million tickets via its app, website and physical points of sale. During the corona crisis, that number fell sharply, but in 2021 282 million tickets were still sold. over the (digital) counter. The company then had a turnover of more than 1 billion euros.

    In 2010, Ticketmaster teamed up with concert organizer Live Nation, market leader in that field. That merger led to fierce criticism: the new company, Live Nation Entertainment, would be too powerful within the music industry. According to critics, the company, which also includes the Dutch Mojo Concerts, is now abusing its dominance by raising ticket prices and thwarting artists and concert halls that do not want to work with the company.

    How great was the interest in Swift’s concert series exactly?

    According to Ticketmaster, a presale for a tour has never attracted so many people before. In a blog post, the company later took offline, stated that a record two million tickets were sold on Tuesday. Ticketmaster calculated that in order for all website visitors to go to a Swift show, the singer would have to perform every night for 2.5 years.

    Because Ticketmaster had partly foreseen the enormous interest, the presale went through a so-called Verified Fan-program. Fans who wanted to claim a ticket could leave their personal details at the beginning of this month. Subsequently, a lottery was used to determine who would receive an access code for the presale queue.

    In the blog post, Ticketmaster wrote that a record 3.5 million people had signed up for this Verified Fan program. Based on previous experience, Ticketmaster sent 1.5 million of these fans an access code. According to Ticketmaster, the fact that the number of website visitors was so high was due to fans also trying to enter without code, and due to “a dizzying number of bot attacks.”

    What is Ticketmaster to blame then?

    The criticism mainly focuses on it Verified FanTicketmaster program. Many fans complain that they were unable to register and therefore had no chance of getting a concert ticket. People would also have had to join the back of the queue after the website crashed. Meanwhile, the coveted tickets are being offered for tens of thousands of dollars on the internet.

    The problems of the last few days have also fueled criticism of the merger. The problems are “a symptom of a bigger problem,” writes Democratic Rep. David Cicilline, for example on Twitter. According to him, Live Nation Entertainment is “an uncontrolled monopoly.” Several consumer organizations have the American Ministry of Justice summoned undo the 2010 merger.