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Taylor Swift blasts Ticketmaster for ‘Eras Tour’ rollout

Taylor Swift performing in September. (Terry Wyatt/Getty Images)
4 min

Taylor Swift on Friday weighed in on the chaotic rollout of her “Eras Tour” concerts this week for the first time, voicing frustration at Ticketmaster’s handling of ticket sales and saying the experience for fans was like “going through several bear attacks.”

The comments from Swift come at a precarious time for Ticketmaster, as the Justice Department has launched an investigation into the firm. The investigation was confirmed by a person familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the situation. The person said the Justice Department’s probe predates the Swift concert drama, and its parameters were not immediately clear.

The Justice Department declined to comment.

“It goes without saying that I’m extremely protective of my fans,” the singer wrote in a statement posted to Instagram. “It’s really difficult for me to trust an outside entity with these relationships and loyalties, and excruciating for me to just watch mistakes happen with no recourse.”

On Thursday, following a couple days of glitches and hours-long waits for tickets to the concerts on Ticketmaster’s website, the company announced it would be halting sales on Friday due to “extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand.” In a since-deleted blog post, Ticketmaster said more than 2 million tickets were purchased for the tour on Tuesday, setting a record for an artist in a single day.

Taylor Swift’s Ticketmaster meltdown: What happened? Who’s to blame?

Ticketmaster attributed the malfunctions to a combination of “bot attacks as well as fans who didn’t have invite codes,” upping the number of system requests on its website to 3.5 billion, which it said was four times the previous peak. The company added that only 15 percent of customer “interactions across the site experienced issues,” but that it was still “too many.”

“There are a multitude of reasons why people had such a hard time trying to get tickets and I’m trying to figure out how this situation can be improved moving forward,” Swift wrote in her statement. “I’m not going to make excuses for anyone because we asked them, multiple times, if they could handle this kind of demand and we were assured they could.”

Ticketmaster’s parent company, Live Nation Entertainment, has not responded to a request for comment.

The Post’s Tatum Hunter explains the controversy around Taylor Swift’s ticket sales. (Video: Hadley Green/The Washington Post)

The “Eras Tour” fiasco added fuel to long-standing complaints over the conduct of Live Nation Entertainment, which has been accused of operating a monopoly in online ticket sales. In 2010, the Justice Department allowed Live Nation, an event promoter and venue operator, to merge with Ticketmaster, on condition of agreeing to a code of conduct meant to address antitrust concerns. In 2019, the Justice Department alleged that Live Nation Entertainment had violated the terms of the agreement, which was set to expire in 2020; after an investigation, a new agreement was extended through 2025.

The New York Times first reported that members of the Justice Department’s antitrust division had launched a “broad” inquiry into Live Nation Entertainment earlier this year.

Anticipation was high for Swift’s return to stadiums; her last concert tour, promoting the album “Reputation,” was in 2018. Swift has since released four records: 2019′s “Lover”; 2020′s “Folklore” and “Evermore”; and last month’s “Midnights,” the success of which made her the first artist to land all 10 top slots on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

In her statement on Friday, Swift noted that she has “brought so many elements of my career in house” as a means to “improve the quality of my fans’ experience by doing it myself with my team who care as much about my fans as I do.”

“To those who didn’t get tickets, all I can say is that my hope is to provide more opportunities for us to all get together and sing these songs,” she wrote. “Thank you for wanting to be there. You have no idea how much that means.”

Julian Mark contributed to this report.