Swifties vs. Ticketmaster

A class action lawsuit filed by Taylor Swift fans accusing Ticketmaster and its parent company Live Nation of fraud, misrepresentation and antitrust violations.

Megan Sims, Staff Reporter

One month after Taylor Swift announced she was going back on the road for the “ERAS” tour, fans have been voicing their frustration over social media about how ticket sales were managed by Ticketmaster. More than two dozen Taylor Swift fans, otherwise known as “Swifties”, across 13 states had their lawyers file a formal complaint in the Los Angeles County Superior Court on Friday Dec. 2. The complaint describes many aspects of the ticket sales that Ticketmaster has allegedly mismanaged including administration of the “Verified Fan” presale codes to the excessive wait times on Ticketmaster’s website.  

Given the fan excitement over the announcement of the “ERAS” tour, Ticketmaster anticipated that there would be a high demand for tickets. A “Verified Fan” event that included a presale for fans who met certain criteria including ticket holders from the canceled “Loverfest” concert and CapitalOne card holders prior to the general sale on Nov. 19 was initiated. In order to buy tickets in presale, fans first had to register to get a code that was sent by Ticketmaster the night before. Not everyone who signed up for “Verified Fan” was supposed to receive a code. The first day of the “Verified Fan” presale event kicked off on Tuesday Nov. 15 at 10 a.m. This would stagger sales to avoid overloading the system while assuring fans and other eligible people would have access to Swift tickets. 

People logged on to Ticketmaster at the specified time to then be placed into a queue that indicated “2000+ fans” were in front of them. The high demand and extended queues caused extensive wait times, technical issues that limited ticket purchases and caused the Ticketmaster servers to crash, bringing ticket sales to a halt. After additional issues the next day during the CapitalOne presale, general sales were suspended due to what Ticketmaster called a “lack of available inventory.”  The lawsuit alleges that Ticketmaster misrepresented how the “Verified Fan” program would work and allowed those without a code to purchase tickets. “Swifties” described their experience and general frustration with Ticketmaster during the “Verified Fan” presale on social media, similar to the allegations described in the lawsuit.   

While Swift expressed disappointment and her own frustration with how ticket sales were managed, she issued a statement on Nov. 18 that mentioned “It’s really difficult to trust an outside entity with these relationships and loyalties and excruciating for me to just watch mistakes happen with no recourse.” She went on to say, “I’m not going to make excuses for anyone. We asked them [Ticketmaster] multiple times if they could handle this kind of demand and we were assured they could.”

Experiences by Troy High School students mirrored the rest of the country. Some fans were able to obtain tickets but still more students were frustrated and disappointed when they encountered similar technical challenges.  

Freshman Peytyn Herron said, “I got tickets but I feel bad that other people did not get them.” Her purchase experience was not without issue though, Herron says that “my dad waited three hours or so before getting our tickets.” 

Freshman Stella Lloyd shared frustration over her experience of trying to get concert tickets, “Personally when I got in, probably I was one of the last in line which I know happened to everyone. It literally did not move for a good six hours. When it finally did, I got in and was not allowed to put in my code. It all glitched out. And then basically kicked me out and I couldn’t get back in for another two hours. What’s the point of this?” 

 It is now up to the legal system to determine if there is sufficient evidence to support the allegations against Ticketmaster included in the lawsuit.