NEW YORK, USA.- When Taylor Swift announced his first tour in five years, Jacob Landry was very excited to see his favorite artist. But after signing up with Ticketmaster to buy his ticket and receiving a pre-sale code, he ran into a lot of trouble.
Thousands of social media users have reported similar experiences to the 20-year-old, including 19-year-old Kathryn Berry, who said she’s “happy we got tickets, but she definitely has a grudge against Ticketmaster.”
For many music fans, that grudge is not new.
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The US ticketing industry, overwhelmingly dominated by the Ticketmaster company, has for years left customers frustrated with limited pre-sale tickets, hidden fees and rampant scalping.
Swift fans who flooded Ticketmaster’s partner ticketing sites for tickets to the upcoming 2023 tour described a myriad of difficulties, including failed pre-sale codes.
Cody Rhodes said his cousin received a code granting him access to buy seats for Swift’s May concert in Philadelphia, but after waiting five hours, he was shooed out of line. When they returned, there were no more tickets left.
Rhodes, who is willing to pay $400 a ticket, said he’ll try again when general sale opens Friday.
“It really is a lot of money for us, but we’re big fans,” Rhodes said, adding that there are already $2,000 to $9,000 tickets being resale for the seats they hope to buy.
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Ticketmaster did not immediately respond to an interview request, but in a statement Tuesday, the company said fans should “wait,” noting there is “unprecedented” demand for tickets. The company also delayed one of the pre-sales by an entire day.
The situation prompted several U.S. lawmakers, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Richard Blumenthal, to urge an investigation into “competition in the retail industry.” Appetizer”.
In 2010, Ticketmaster and event promotion giant Live Nation merged, in what another lawmaker, David Cicilline, on Tuesday called “an unchecked monopoly.”
Cicilline and other lawmakers last year called for a Justice Department investigation into “Live Nation’s attempts to raise prices and throttle competition.”
Swift’s fans, with a large presence on social networks, have the ability to call attention to this situation. But Krista Brown, an analyst with the American Economic Liberties Project, an NGO that advocates for antitrust regulations, said this has nothing to do with any particular artist or concert.
“Ticketmaster and its parent company, Live Nation Entertainment, have a monopoly on the industry that allows them to regularly abuse their power,” Brown noted.
Live Nation recently reported an increase in demand after the cancellation of shows due to the pandemic, and said that sales of tickets increased by 37% compared to 2019.
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But while fans have complained about the high costs (ticket prices for Bruce Springsteen shows, in the thousands of dollars, caused quite a stir earlier this year), Ticketmaster blamed ticket scalping, saying that promoters and artist representatives set prices.
“As the ticket resale market has grown to be a $10 billion-plus industry in recent years, artists and their teams” are trying to “recoup that lost revenue,” he said.
Landry bought a $300 ticket to see Swift in Arlington, Texas, but the final price with additional fees was $569. For him it’s still worth it: “I literally adore her,” she confessed.
Rhodes, meanwhile, is anxiously awaiting general ticket sales to begin and, above all, action against Ticketmaster. “Using another ticketing service is hardly an option,” she lamented.