Here’s the current story – be careful with this one, but we can probably get a good long story outta all this. Tell what happened in the first part, then use the second sources to give a short story about how Ticketmaster was accused of working with scalpers etc.
Live Nation’s Ticketmaster website was overloaded with millions of Taylor Swift fans, who tried to secure their seats for the singer’s first tour in five years, as the Eras tour will be Swift’s first tour since 2018. Periodic outages were caused by the massive demand and long online waits as some already purchased tickets were quickly posted for resale for thousands of dollars.
It was a “historically unprecedented demand” for Swift’s 52-date United States tour, the ticket-selling site said in a statement. Millions of her fans attempted to buy the presale tickets, which had caused “intermittent issues” that the company was “urgently” working to resolve, said reports.
It was reported by some fans that they were waiting in online queues for up to eight hours. For many of those fans, it was too late to purchase tickets, and that ‘pleasure’ cost them between $49 and $449 each.
Swift fans selected as “verified fans” were initially the only ones who could purchase the presale tickets. The “verified fans” is a system set up to deter bots and scalpers. But sites such as StubHub already had some of those tickets being listed on resale for as much as US$22,700 (£19,100, A$33,500) each.
For Capital One credit cardholders the presale was postponed from Tuesday to Wednesday, while, in order to help ease pressure on Ticketmaster, ticket sales for west coast shows were delayed by three hours.
Author of the popular NextDraft newsletter, Dave Pell wrote that he is “a failure as a father.” “The one time my daughter really needed me to come through for her, I ended up on the outside looking in, banished to the barren badlands of the Taylor Swift ticket waiting list wasteland,” wrote Pell.
Some fans said that they even took a day off from work just so they could buy the tickets and they felt the process should have gone more smoothly. Fans say that they were repeatedly dropped from queues and turned their ire towards Ticketmaster.
David Cicilline, a Democratic US lawmaker, who also criticized the company, wrote this on Twitter: “@Ticketmaster’s excessive wait times and fees are completely unacceptable, as seen with today’s @taylorswift13 tickets.”
“It’s no secret that Live Nation-Ticketmaster is an unchecked monopoly,” said the lawmaker. The fans are clearly feeling cheated by the ticket-selling site for expensive concert tickets, and it may be somewhat justified, according to a fiery investigation by CBC News and the Toronto Star detailing a secret scalping scheme run by the ticket sales company itself.
Allegedly, the two outlets sent journalists undercover as scalpers to a live entertainment convention this summer, where Ticketmaster reportedly pitched them on underground dealings in its professional resale program, through which it takes a cut of profits.
According to the report, Ticketmaster enlists resellers to grab large batches of tickets from its site and then flip them for higher prices on a Ticketmaster-owned, invite-only platform called TradeDesk. This platform is touted by the company as “The most powerful ticket sales tool. Ever.”
So basically, Ticketmaster gets extra fees from the pricier resale tickets on top of its fees from selling the original ticket. Ticketmaster turns a blind eye to its TradeDesk users who grab lots of tickets, despite the existence of a Ticketmaster “buyer abuse” division that looks for suspicious online activity in ticket sales, CBC and Toronto Star journalists were told.
One of the undercover journalists was told by a sales representative that there are brokers with “literally a couple of hundred accounts” on TradeDesk and that it’s “not something that we look at or report.”
In the past, Ticketmaster has sued groups for using bots to grab up live event tickets from its site. This prompted counterclaims that Ticketmaster was itself supplying scalpers with bot software or assisting them with mass resale. And as it seems, per this week’s investigation, TradeDesk appears to be doing just that.
Upon seeing the findings, CBC was told by Alan Cross, a popular Canadian radio program host that this is going to be a public relations nightmare, while also noting previous “whispers of this in the ticket-selling community, but it’s never been outlined quite like this before.”
In a statement to CBC, Ticketmaster said that “as the world’s leading ticketing platform, representing thousands of teams, artists and venues, we believe it is our job to offer a marketplace that provides a safe and fair place for fans to shop, buy and sell tickets in both the primary and secondary markets.”
Yet, they do not mention anything about reselling the tickets for an unreasonable price.