Ticketmaster sued by more Taylor Swift fans over ‘Eras’ tour ticketing issues
Another group of Taylor Swift fans has banded together to sue Ticketmaster, after the company bungled the launch of tickets to the pop star’s upcoming ‘Eras’ tour.
Fans were first able to access tickets for the North American tour – which is set to span at least 52 dates over six months – on November 15. Many, however, reported outlandish wait times in Ticketmaster’s online queue, outages to the company’s website, and hyper-inflated prices on resale sites (including Ticketmaster’s own) before the sale even began.
Ticketmaster later admitted it struggled with the “historically unprecedented demand” they faced from Swift’s fans, and scrapped the general sale entirely. Swift herself refused to “make excuses” for the company, saying she and her team had been assured that the site “could handle this kind of demand”.
Fans were naturally frustrated with Ticketmaster’s handling of the situation – made harsher last week when it came out that the company has 170,000 unsold tickets to the ‘Eras’ tour – and around three dozen of them (who are mostly lawyers) went so far as to launch the ‘Vigilante Legal’ campaign to protest Ticketmaster and its involvement in the tour.
The first class action lawsuit against Ticketmaster was filed in California on December 2, and alleged that the company violated two state laws – the California Cartwright Act and the California Unfair Competition Law – during its first ‘Verified Fan’ pre-sale. It directly implicated Live Nation (Ticketmaster’s parent company) with accusations including fraud, price fixing, and antitrust violations.
A second class action lawsuit, filed at a federal level on Tuesday (December 20), makes many of the same accusations. According to the filing (per Rolling Stone), “Ticketmaster intentionally and purposefully misled millions of fans into believing it would prevent bots and scalpers from participating in the presales”.
“However,” the document continues, “millions of fans were unable to purchase tickets during the TaylorSwiftTix Presale and the Capital One Presale, due in large part to unprecedented website traffic caused by Ticketmaster allowing 14 million unverified Ticketmaster users and a ‘staggering’ number of bots to participate in the presales.”
The new lawsuit was filed by a group of 26 plaintiffs, and also alleges, among other things, that Live Nation engaged in “intentional misrepresentation”. So reads another section of the filing: “Millions of fans waited up to eight hours and were unable to purchase tickets. [The company] intentionally and purposefully mislead ticket purchasers by allowing scalpers and bots access to TaylorSwiftTix presale.”
Another point of contention for the group was Ticketmaster’s willingness to “intentionally provide codes when it could not satisfy ticket demand”. Just last week, the company began relaunching its ‘Verified Fan’ program (whereby prospective concertgoers are vetted for legitimacy before being allowed to purchase tickets), notifying handfuls of Swift fans that a new window for ‘Eras’ tour ticket sales would be opening imminently.
Ticketmaster’s botched first attempt at selling tickets for the tour had political implications, with US lawmakers calling for an investigation into the company. A Senate-backed antitrust panel has also organised a hearing on the lack of competition in the ticketing industry, while two US senators called on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to answer for “the steps” it’s taking to “combat the use and operation of bots in the online ticket marketplace”.
Swift’s upcoming ‘Eras’ tour comes in support of her 10th album, ‘Midnights’ – which arrived in October and was named by NME as the 12th best album of 2022 – with special guests including Paramore, beabadoobee, Phoebe Bridgers, Girl In Red, MUNA and Haim. Just this week, the album broke a new record by selling six million copies in eight weeks.