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Taylor Swift fans file lawsuit against Ticketmaster after pre-sale debacle

Taylor Swift attends a premiere for the short film “All Too Well” in New York on Nov. 12, 2021. Swift posted a Story Friday on Instagram expressing her anger and frustration over the hours spent by fans trying to buy tickets with Ticketmaster for her tour next year. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Taylor Swift fans filed a class-action lawsuit against Live Nation Entertainment, the parent company of Ticketmaster, after widespread issues stopped many fans from getting tickets in a pre-sale event for an upcoming tour.

The lawsuit, filed in the Superior Court of California in Los Angeles, charges Ticketmaster with several antitrust violations, fraud, breach of contract and intentional misinterpretation, among others.

The plaintiffs were among the millions of verified users and Swift fans who joined the pre-sale event to purchase tickets for the upcoming “The Eras” tour, the pop singer’s first since the pandemic began.

But the plaintiffs say they lost out as bots and unverified users flooded the Ticketmaster website during the November event. Fans complained about frozen web pages, ticket delays and long queues.

Ticketmaster then canceled the general ticket sale.

Plaintiffs filed in California in part because the state is one of the friendliest to enforcing antitrust laws against corporations.

“The policy and spirit of the California antitrust laws are to promote the free play
of competitive market forces and the lower prices to consumers that result,” the lawsuit reads, alleging Ticketmaster has violated that spirit by “imposing agreements and policies at the retail and wholesale level that have prevented effective price competition across a wide swath of online ticket sales.”

The Hill has reached out to Ticketmaster for comment on the lawsuit.

Ticketmaster has previously apologized to both fans and Swift, blaming the pre-sale chaos on overwhelming demand.

Ahead of the pre-sale event, Ticketmaster said it sent codes to 1.5 million people for 52 show dates and that 2 million people were placed on a waiting list.

But when it first opened on Nov. 15, the site saw 3.5 billion requests, four times a previous traffic peak, according to Ticketmaster.

“We’re working to shore up our tech for the new bar that has been set,” Ticketmaster wrote in a November blog post.

Collectively, the plaintiffs say they lost thousands of dollars from the pre-sale event, which prompted a Department of Justice investigation and a congressional hearing over antitrust concerns in the ticketing industry, about 70 percent of which is controlled by Live Nation Entertainment.

The lawsuit accuses Ticketmaster of intentionally allowing bots and re-sellers into the pre-sale event and of providing ticket codes to users when company representatives knew it could not meet demand.

It also more broadly alleges the company dominates the market by forcing buyers to resell tickets on its secondary market, controlling prices by allying with competitors like SeatGeek and fixing prices on the secondary market by controlling how much a buyer can resell at.

In the blog post last month, Ticketmaster said just 5 percent of “The Eras” tour tickets were re-sold, compared to the historic trend of roughly 20 percent.

The company also said the more than 2 million tickets it sold on Nov. 15 set a record.

Tags Live Nation Los Angeles pre-sale Taylor Swift TicketMaster
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