The Fall of Ticketmaster

Ticketmaster logo.


Ticketmaster logo.

Rebecca LeMoult

On November 15th, 2022, Ticketmaster held a presale for Taylor Swift’s upcoming North American tour. During the presale, 2.4 million tickets were sold. Many fans were left frustrated though, as the website crashed during the sale, and many people were unable to get tickets after being kicked out of or sent to the back of the line. The people unable to get tickets in the presale, as well as fans unable to register for the presale, were depending on the general sale, in which Ticketmaster was expected to sell any tickets not sold in the presale. Two days later though, Ticketmaster announced the cancellation of the general sale, leaving people extremely upset and confused. Though it is still uncertain, many are assuming that Ticketmaster somehow sold out every show during the presale, and there are no tickets left.

Many started calling out the website for how they handled the situation, including Taylor Swift herself. She released a statement on Instagram on November 18th, saying how “excruciating” it was to watch “mistakes happen with no recourse.” The statement also blamed the chaos on Ticketmaster not being prepared for the overwhelming demand for her tickets. She claims: “We asked them multiple times if they could handle this kind of demand and we were assured they could.” Meanwhile, Ticketmaster released an explanation on their website the same day. This statement blamed the situation on bot attacks and fans who weren’t registered for the presale entering the queue, meaning two million more people on the site than expected, increasing traffic and causing it to crash. 

Although this might be the most attention it has gotten, this incident is not the beginning of controversy surrounding Ticketmaster. According to The Nation, people have been speaking out against the company since 1994 when the band Pearl Jam attempted to separate from Ticketmaster in order to prevent the prices of their tickets from getting too high. They ultimately went back to the company though, as Ticketmaster has exclusive deals with many major venues, and it is almost impossible to tour without a contract with it. 

In 2010, the company merged with Live Nation Entertainment, creating “​​a giant in the live entertainment business that still has no equals in its reach or power” according to The New York Times. Since then, ticket prices have risen astronomically over the past two decades, which most have been unhappy about. Guidance counselor Mr. Walty calls for venues to have more range for the value of tickets, citing the “ridiculous fees” that have come recently with the surge of Ticketmaster.

Ticketmaster is now the main platform used for initially buying and selling tickets. Usually the only other options to purchase tickets are resale sites such as Stubhub and SeatGeek. Many are against this, arguing that since then Ticketmaster has been abusing its power over the music industry. “Ticketmaster should not have full monopoly over the ticket industry, and that way the efforts in selling tickets will be spread out through different companies and the process can be done more efficiently,” according to Ramapo student Keira Duffy. 

The Justice Department has now opened an antitrust investigation on Live Nation and by extension Ticketmaster. This investigation will be based on whether the company has abused its power over the music industry. The results of this investigation, as well as the future of the ticket industry, are still uncertain.