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Ticketmaster cancels Taylor Swift general sale ticket sales set for Friday

Surging demand overwhelmed a presale of tickets for the 2023 tour, and Ticketmaster said there wasn’t enough tickets left for the general public. Many fans have expressed outrage at the tour rollout.

Singer-songwriter Taylor Swift onstage during the 1989 World Tour Live in Los Angeles in 2015. (Christopher Polk/Getty Images for TAS)

Ticketmaster announced Thursday afternoon that it was halting public ticket sales of Taylor Swift’s “Eras” tour on Friday due to “extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory” to meet demand.

A mad rush this week for tickets to Swift’s tour crashed parts of Ticketmaster’s website and left fans waiting for hours to buy tickets. It has sparked bipartisan outrage from some Democrats and Republicans who have questioned whether Ticketmaster has handled the rollout appropriately.

The chaotic week has even sparked calls to break up the large ticketing company, which some critics have accused of having a monopoly in online ticket sales. The company has cited extraordinary demand for Swift’s tour and tried to pace the rollout of sales. Tickets have been reselling for as much as $28,000, Reuters reported.

Angry Taylor Swift fans rail about Ticketmaster glitches

Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti (R) said Wednesday that his office has received complaints from people who tried purchasing tickets through Ticketmaster, and said he would look into whether the website violated consumers’ rights and antitrust regulations.

In a lengthy post published Thursday, Ticketmaster explained that “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” — four-times its previous web traffic peak.

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

More than 2 million tickets for the tour were sold on Tuesday — the most tickets sold for an artist in one day, the company said. Despite the widespread reports of problems from concert-going hopefuls, the Ticketmaster claimed that only 15 percent of customer “interactions across the site experienced issues,” which it said was “too many.”

Greg Maffei, the chief executive of Liberty Media, a large shareholder in Ticketmaster’s parent company, told CNBC on Thursday that said the long wait times were a “function of the massive demand that Taylor Swift has.”

He also responded to a Twitter post by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) that Ticketmaster, which merged with Live Nation Entertainment in 2010, is a “monopoly” and needed to broken up. He said that a competitor promoted Swift’s show and chose Ticketmaster to sell the tickets because “we are, in reality, the largest and most effective ticket seller in the world.”

Are you a concert ticket broker? Share your Taylor Swift "Eras Tour" experience with The Washington Post.

Maffei nevertheless apologized to customers who were left in the lurch this week as they sought tickets.

“We are working hard on this,” he said. “And, again, building capacity for peak demand is something we attempt to do but this exceeded every expectation.”

Superstar Taylor Swift's music is a trove of hidden meanings tied to her love of numeric symbolism - and her tenth album, "Midnights," is no different. (Video: Allie Caren/The Washington Post, Photo: Sarah Hashemi/The Washington Post)

Following the October release of her 10th album “Midnights,” Swift broke other records. She was the first artist to grab all of the top 10 slots on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, all with songs from her new album. During the album’s release, fans flooded Spotify and crashed the site to listen to it. “Midnights” became the most-streamed album in 24 hours on Spotify, with 184.6 million streams, according to Guinness World Records.

Long before the release of her latest album, Swift commanded remarkable sway in the music industry. In 2015, Apple Music, then a new streaming service, changed its policy and said it would compensate artists during a three-month free trial after Swift publicly shamed the company. Months earlier, Swift made shock waves after she pulled her entire catalogue from the Spotify. She returned to the streaming service in 2017.

Swift hasn’t yet commented on the situation through her social media channels.

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