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Taylor Swift versus Ticketmaster: the latest on the tour that may break up a giant

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On November 15th, millions of people with presale codes logged on to Ticketmaster to get tickets for the Taylor Swift Eras Tour — or at least they tried to. The website, run by the massive entertainment company Live Nation Entertainment, struggled under the load, with many users getting errors and being told their information was incorrect.

Things only got worse from there. Two days later, Ticketmaster announced it was canceling the planned public ticket sale, as it didn’t have enough tickets left to meet what it called “historically unprecedented demand.” It also posted a write-up about what had happened, saying that around “15 percent of interactions” with the site ended with an error and that around 3.5 million people had registered with the “Verified Fan” program that’s intended to keep bots at bay.

Since then, Ticketmaster has mysteriously pulled that post, and Taylor Swift has responded to the controversy by saying that she and her team were repeatedly assured the company’s systems would be able to handle the traffic (which the now-deleted post claimed was twice as much as the top five tours of 2022 and Super Bowl combined). The government has reportedly opened an antitrust investigation into Live Nation after several lawmakers raised concerns about it being a monopoly and whether there was enough competition in the ticket-selling space.

On January 24th, Live Nation CFO Joe Berchtold and others are sitting in front of Congress for the Senate Committee on the Judiciary hearing “That’s the Ticket: Promoting Competition and Protecting Consumers in Live Entertainment.”

Ticketmaster has long been accused of being anticompetitive — Pearl Jam filed a complaint about it to the DOJ in 1994. So it remains to be seen whether this incident will be the latest in a series of unsuccessful attempts to loosen the company’s iron grip on the industry or if it’ll be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Either way, you can come back here for the latest in the Ticketmaster / Taylor Swift drama.