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Ticketmaster cancels public sale of Taylor Swift tour, citing high demand of tickets

Ticketmaster announced in a tweet on Thursday it had canceled the public sale of tickets to Taylor Swift’s “The Eras” Tour.

“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 wrote in the tweet.

The news comes after a highly frustrating, sometimes heartbreaking pre-sale rush among fans for tickets. Those seeking tickets were subjected to hours-long waits and a website that sometimes crashed, sending them back to the beginning of a virtual queue with thousands ahead of them.

Swift recently added 17 dates to the 2023 U.S. tour, which kicks off in March in Arizona and ends in August in Los Angeles. The tour will consist of 52 concerts.

Representatives for Swift did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In a full statement, Ticketmaster explained that the pre-sale broke site records and acknowledged that it hadn’t offered the smooth ticket-buying experience it hoped for.

“The biggest venues and artists turn to us because we have the leading ticketing technology in the world — that doesn’t mean it’s perfect, and clearly for Taylor’s on sale it wasn’t. But we’re always working to improve the ticket buying experience,” the statement reads.

Ticketmaster explained that more than 3.5 million people pre-registered for the Taylor’s Verified Fan sale, the largest in the site’s history. However, the site said, typically, 40 percent of fans invited to purchase tickets actually do so and buy an average of 3 tickets.

This meant 1.5 million fans were invited to buy tickets while the remaining 2 million were waitlisted.

The company said the Verified Fan process usually slows the number of people coming to buy tickets but didn’t work as intended 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 said.

It said the hours-long wait times fan experienced during the pre-sale were due to the site slowing sales in order to stabilize itself.

In its statement, Ticketmaster said that even if a ticket sale goes perfectly, fans still tend to leave empty-handed. It explained that “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.”

Despite the bungled pre-sale, Ticketmaster said more than 2 million tickets were sold on Nov. 15 for Swift’s tour. It said the sale was the most tickets ever sold in a single day for an artist.

On social media, fans expressed their dismay learning the public sale had been canceled.

“i’m going to actually jump infront of traffic,” one person tweeted.

Another wrote: “will it be rescheduled??? what’s happening? more information would be great lol”

“how could you sell out all the tickets in presale when only 15% was supposed to be released,” one person asked.

Some have noted exorbitant resale prices on tickets snagged during the presale, with some in the tens of thousands of dollars. The resale prices and the issues with Ticketmaster have led to growing scrutiny of Ticketmaster and its parent company, Live Nation Entertainment.

Lawmakers sent a letter addressed to Michael Rapino, the president and CEO of Live Nation Entertainment Inc., expressing “serious concerns about the state of competition in the ticketing industry and its harmful impact on consumers.”

In the letter, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., who is chair of a subcommittee on antitrust issues, wrote that Ticketmaster isn’t subjected to competition, which means it isn’t forced to innovate or create a better service for consumers.

In the letter, Klobuchar asked Rapino to answer a string of questions, including how much the company has spent to upgrade technology to handle surges in demand and what percentage of high-profile tour tickets get reserved for presales.

The chaotic ticket rollout also caught the eye of Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti, who said he would investigate Ticketmaster. 

“If it’s a consumer protection violation and we can find exactly where the problems are, we can get a court order that makes the company do better,” Skrmetti said at a Wednesday news conference.

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