Taylor Swift, Ticketmaster, and Antitrust Troubles


A surge in demand for a selected live performance tour overwhelmed the net ticketing web site, shutting it down. It occurs. No huge deal. Proper?

There’s a little bit extra to the story.

What occurred?

Ticketmaster dealt with ticket gross sales for 47 of 52 dates for Taylor Swift’s first tour since 2018. The “Eras” tour required verified followers to register on the Ticketmaster website. Registered followers would obtain a code permitting them to buy the ticket.

To this point, so good.

Nevertheless, the quantity of requests for presale tickets was unprecedented. It led to glitches and lengthy wait instances. Some waited as much as eight hours however didn’t get tickets. The corporate tried to justify the glitches to bot assaults from scalpers wanting to purchase tickets to resell. It subsequently cancelled the overall sale, saying it was resulting from a scarcity of stock. Annoyed Swiftie followers weren’t shopping for it. Thousands and thousands had been unable to purchase a ticket, together with Capital One card holders. 

Regardless of the eye it garnered, the underlying occasion sounds affordable on the face of it. It’s not the primary time a website has gotten overwhelmed by huge demand. Nevertheless, the premise for the criticism levelled at Ticketmaster was its monopoly on the net ticketing trade. Critics say it expenses exorbitant charges and hoards tickets on the market on their secondary market website by resellers. Since Ticketmaster has unique rights to live performance venues, it forces artists and followers to make use of their website.

The uproar was so huge amongst Swifties that it shone a lightweight on one thing creating over three many years.

A Lengthy-Standing Problem

Ticketmaster has been thrilling the ire of artists and lawmakers for a very long time. In 1994, Pearl Jam band members Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard appeared earlier than Congress to supply testimony. That they had filed an antitrust criticism towards Ticketmaster for…$2.20.

The criticism resulted from a disagreement between Ticketmaster and Pearl Jam over the service payment cost. The band wished it capped at $1.80, and Ticketmaster refused. Do not forget that overcharging is among the allegations introduced towards Ticketmaster in 2023. On the time, ticketing firms sometimes charged a minimal of $4 for these charges.

The Justice Division had already had an eye fixed on Ticketmaster, which held about 90 per cent of the ticket market then. When it heard in regards to the dispute, it suggested the band founders to file a criticism. Nevertheless, nothing got here out of it on the time regardless of the listening to.

The DOJ did slap Ticketmaster with oversight in 2010 when it allowed its merger with Stay Nation. The phrases of the Closing Judgment prohibited retaliatory actions towards live performance venues for working with different ticketing firms for ten years. Nevertheless, as a result of Stay Nation repeatedly violated the consent decree phrases, there’s a transfer to modify and prolong it for one more 65 months.

Lawsuits and Laws

A law book with a gavel - Antitrust law

Lawmakers and music followers are sad with Ticketmaster, always making it a goal for criticism. The newest problem relating to the Taylor Swift debacle merely follows up on earlier points. Nevertheless, the Swift scenario highlighted the primary downside as a result of it brought on an uproar from its huge fan base. 

Stay Nation head honcho Jeff Ament testified earlier than the Senate that the most recent debacle was resulting from a cyberattack, nevertheless it wasn’t simply that. Ticketmaster merely have little motivation to provide high quality customer support as a result of there’s no competitors within the house.

Again in 1994, with the Pearl Jam problem, Ament and Vedder opined that it was all posture by the DOJ. Ticketmaster suffered no antitrust repercussions, so when the band tried to freeze out Ticketmaster of their 1995 tour, they couldn’t. 

Ticketmaster had a stranglehold on most live performance venues within the US, so Pearl Jam needed to ebook with ski resorts and different odd locations. The tour was a catastrophe, in order that they cancelled the rest of their performances about midway by way of. That they had no alternative however to work with Ticketmaster on their subsequent excursions.

Civil lawsuit

Quick ahead to 2023, and Ticketmaster is once more in a authorized tussle. Varied Swifties filed a civil lawsuit, alleging that Ticketmaster and Stay Nation engaged in anti-competitive behaviour. They drive concertgoers to pay quite a few charges, resulting in increased ticket costs they can not get anyplace else.

Moreover, the corporate claimed that bots had been accountable for the lengthy waits and cancelled ticket gross sales. Nevertheless, it established a Verified Fan system to forestall that problem. Solely followers with a presale code might buy tickets throughout the promoting interval. 

The lawsuit alleges that the true downside was the corporate issued 1.4 million codes, exceeding the capability of the venues. Consequently, many followers with codes waited for hours to buy their tickets, solely to be turned away. There have been merely not sufficient seats, and Ticketmaster knew it.

Furthermore, Ticketmaster profited from the resale market by imposing a payment for fan-to-fan ticket exchanges. The lawsuit additionally alleges that Ticketmaster forces fashionable artists to work with them due to their agreements with giant venues.

Ticketmaster apologized to Swifties and promised to enhance their tech to forestall such points from occurring once more. It was to no avail. Followers are out for blood.

The lawsuit seeks damages of $2,500 per violation, referring to every occasion the place a fan couldn’t get tickets. As a result of the incident concerned tens of millions of dissatisfied Swifties, the ultimate depend might imply a major payout for the defendant.

The plaintiffs declare that the cash is secondary. The purpose of the lawsuit was to make sure that it by no means occurred once more. It desires Ticketmaster to relinquish its monopoly on the net ticket trade, making costs and entry aggressive once more. 

If profitable, followers with few sources might file their motion with pay as you go legislation providers after checking LegalShield evaluations. It might occur fairly simply, contemplating Ticketmaster is at the moment embattled.

Again earlier than the DOJ

The uproar from outraged and outright hysterical Taylor Swift followers attracted the eye of reports retailers and a few lawmakers. It led to a congressional listening to and a DOJ investigation. Individuals wished to know what occurred and why such a preventable incident was allowed to happen. Some imagine it was a predatory monopoly that might unfold past the reside occasion trade and have an effect on the typical client’s day by day life.

The DOJ did modify and prolong the 2010 Closing Judgement towards Ticketmaster designed to deal with these anti-competitive points. Beneath the phrases of this judgment, Ticketmaster needed to promote its ticketing service subsidiary, Paciolan, to Comcast. It should additionally license its ticketing software program to AEG, Stay Nation’s competitor. The phrases of the judgment additionally prohibited retaliation towards venues for working with different ticketing firms. The modification prolonged the prohibitions to 2025.

Alistair Vigier, the CEO of Clearway Legislation, mentioned “It will not be sufficient to assuage the overall dissatisfaction with the difficulty. Rumours abound that the DOJ might file an antitrust lawsuit towards Stay Nation and its subsidiary, Ticketmaster, by the top of 2023. The claims might embrace allegations of abuses of energy that might result in the corporate’s breakup.”

If true, the lawsuit wouldn’t be the primary filed by competitors enforcers towards the embattled reside occasion firm. The DOJ filed one which resulted in findings in 2019 that the corporate had violated the phrases of the 2010 consent decree. It was compelling venues to make use of Ticketmaster for Stay Nation performances, penalizing those that refused. The DOJ fined the corporate $1 million for violations and once more prohibited it from tying providers.

There was no affirmation up to now that the DOJ will file a lawsuit in 2023. Nevertheless, it triggered one other authorized battle.

Investor troubles

The corporate may be in bother with its traders. Legislation companies representing Stay Nation traders are trying into claims that it issued deceptive or false statements disclaiming any authorized vulnerability for his or her enterprise practices. The straw that introduced the camel’s again was once more the Taylor Swift incident. Within the quick aftermath, share costs fell practically eight per cent. Naturally sufficient, that brought on concern amongst traders.

Ticketmaster assured traders that cancelling the general public sale of Swift live performance tickets wouldn’t result in any authorized points. It claimed there was no critical proof to assist an antitrust lawsuit following the incident. There had been greater than sufficient competitors from different firms.

Civil litigants and the DOJ imagine in any other case. Instantly after rumours in regards to the DOJ’s plans to file an antitrust lawsuit started circulating, traders filed a category motion case towards Stay Nation

Plaintiffs alleged to the California federal court docket on August 4, 2023, that the corporate lied about their enterprise practices. These embrace bundling providers, charging bloated charges, retaliating towards venues working with different ticketing firms, and fascinating in secondary ticketing.


There is no such thing as a query that the Taylor Swift incident occurred partly due to the unprecedented demand for tickets. It may possibly occur anytime a live performance or tour induces loyal followers to exert extraordinary effort to acquire tickets. Nevertheless, the issue with Ticketmaster is it engaged in questionable conduct in addressing the difficulty. These embrace promising extra tickets than they might problem and charging service charges for peer-to-peer exchanges.

The corporate additional exacerbated the difficulty by making questionable statements. They claimed {that a} cyberattack had overloaded their website, resulting in the cancellation of the general public sale of tickets. Nevertheless, that they had issued presale codes to forestall simply such a problem. As well as, they lied to traders about their authorized vulnerability within the aftermath. Lastly, they allegedly violated the phrases of their consent decree with the DOJ with impunity regardless of warnings and fines.

The irony is the Taylor Swift tour shouldn’t have been Stay Nation’s downside. The promoter is AEG Presents, not Stay Nation. Nevertheless, AEG had no alternative however to make use of Ticketmaster due to Stay Nation’s unique agreements with venues they wished to ebook. If these agreements had not been in place, AEG would most certainly have distributed ticketing providers to a number of firms. The Eras tour would in all probability not be the hill on which Ticketmaster would probably die.


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