Ticketmaster cancels public on-sale for Taylor Swift tour


Ticketmaster has cancelled the public on-sale of tickets for next year’s US leg of Taylor Swift’s ‘The Eras Tour’, with the company firmly on the defensive amid criticism from fans and politicians alike. Tickets were due to go on sale to the general public today (18 November) after a week of staggered pre-sales.

“Due to extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand, tomorrow’s public on-sale for Taylor Swift’s ‘The Eras Tour’ has been cancelled,” was Ticketmaster’s official statement.

The company followed up with a longer explanatory blog post – since deleted although not before media outlets picked up on it – noting that more than 3.5 million fans had signed up for the Verified Fan pre-sale earlier this week, 1.5 million of whom had been given the chance to buy tickets, with the rest sent to a waiting list.

“Historically, working with Verified Fan invite codes has worked as we’ve been able to manage the volume coming into the site to shop for tickets,” said Ticketmaster. “However, 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 — 4x our previous peak.”

2m tickets may have been sold, but anger from fans who couldn’t buy – fuelled by the sight of rocketing prices on the secondary market – has been building all week. Ticketmaster’s blog post presented what happened through the lens of a noble battle against sheer weight of demand.

“Based on the volume of traffic to our site, Taylor would need to perform over 900 stadium shows (almost 20x the number of shows she is doing),” it claimed. “That’s a stadium show every single night for the next 2.5 years.”

This defence is partly aimed at those furious fans, but as we noted the other day, there’s another important audience in mind: politicians and regulators. There were some more ominous noises yesterday on that front.

Tennessee’s attorney general took to Twitter to say that the cancellation “underscores the important need for accountability. Fans deserve a fair chance to buy a ticket. I’m encouraged by other state AGs who are taking this issue seriously as well”.

Meanwhile, Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar has written to Live Nation boss Michael Rapino addressing the bigger picture of competition.

“Ticketmaster’s power in the primary ticket market insulates it from the competitive pressures that typically push companies to innovate and improve their services. That can result in dramatic service failures, where consumers are the ones that pay the price,” wrote Klobuchar.

She added five questions that she wants answered by 23 November about how Ticketmaster operates. It’s a letter with teeth, because Klobuchar is the chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on competition policy, antitrust and consumer rights.

Written by: Stuart Dredge