Senators have quoted Taylor Swift lyrics at a hearing that seeks to analyse the issues surrounding the singer-songwriter’s ticket sale for her upcoming ‘Eras Tour’.
Tickets for the tour went on sale in November and saw thousands of fans reporting lengthy wait times, website outages, and hyper-inflated prices on resale sites (including Ticketmaster’s own). The ticketing company later admitted it buckled under the “historically unprecedented demand” they faced from Swift’s fans before cancelling the general sale.
In the aftermath of the ticket sale, Swift’s own fans mounted their own campaigns against Ticketmaster, with around three dozen launching an initiative called ‘Vigilante Legal’. A class action lawsuit against Ticketmaster was also filed, with plaintiffs accusing the company of violating two laws – the California Cartwright Act and the California Unfair Competition Law – during the first Verified Fan pre-sale.
Two US senators also called on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to answer for “the steps” it’s taking to “combat the use and operation of bots in the online ticket marketplace”.
.@SenAmyKlobuchar: "Competition policy is very important to me…to have a strong capitalist system you have to have competition, you can't have too much consolidation, something that unfortunately for this country, as an ode to Taylor Swift, I will say, we know 'All Too Well.'" pic.twitter.com/hN7ninMrAi
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 24, 2023
.@SenBlumenthal: "Ticketmaster had the temerity to imply that the debacle involved in pre-ticket sales was Taylor Swift's fault because she was failing to do too many concerts. May I suggest…Ticketmaster outta look in the mirror and say, 'I'm the problem. It's me.'" pic.twitter.com/F8HDmsu0Tk
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 24, 2023
This has me rolling. The Karma quote during the Ticketmaster hearing 😭😂 #TaylorSwiftTheErasTour pic.twitter.com/LGiCybEuxl
— Gabe Kanae (@GabeKanae) January 24, 2023
Speaking to the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday (January 24) for the hearing ‘That’s The Ticket: Promoting Competition and Protecting Consumers in Live Entertainment’, a number of senators made reference to the 11-time Grammy winner during their statements, which you can view above.
Senator Amy Klobuchar, who was one of the two senators that called for the hearing, quoted Swift’s ‘All Too Well’ in her opening statement. “To have a strong capitalist system, you have to have competition. You can’t have too much consolidation – something that, unfortunately for this country, as an ode to Taylor Swift, I will say, we know ‘all too well,'” she said.
Senator Richard Blumenthal added: “Ticketmaster ought to look in the mirror, and say, ‘I’m the problem, it’s me,” in reference to Swift’s hit single ‘Anti-Hero’ off her recent album ‘Midnights’ while senator Mike Lee also made a lyric reference to the track ‘Karma’, ending his remarks with: “I have to throw out, in deference to my daughter Eliza, one more Taylor Swift quote: ‘Karma is a relaxing thought, aren’t you envious for you it’s not?’”
Ticketmaster blamed a cyber attack on the problems surrounding the ticket sale in a pre-hearing statement.
Joe Berchtold – the president of Ticketmaster’s parent company Live Nation – said that “valuable lessons” were learned from the sale.
He apologised “to the many disappointed fans as well as to Ms Swift” for what he admitted was “a terrible consumer experience,” adding: “In hindsight there are several things we could have done better.
Explaining the situation, Berchtold added: “We knew bots would attack… and planned accordingly. We were then hit with three times the amount of bot traffic than we had ever experienced, and for the first time in 400 Verified Fan onsales they came after our Verified Fan access code servers.
“While the bots failed to penetrate our systems or acquire any tickets, the attack required us to slow down and even pause our sales. This is what led to a terrible consumer experience that we deeply regret.”
Last month, Ticketmaster said it still has 170,000 tickets still to sell for the tour after the general sale was cancelled. According to Billboard, Ticketmaster distributed the remaining tickets over the next four weeks via Ticketstoday, which was originally created in the early 2000s for members of the Dave Matthews Band fan club to purchase tickets. It was acquired by Live Nation in 2008 and now “operates the Ticketmaster Verified Fan Request platform”.
The North American leg of Swift’s ‘Eras’ tour will begin in Glendale, Arizona in March, running on through to August with a total of 52 shows on the itinerary with special guests across the run including Paramore, beabadoobee, Phoebe Bridgers, Girl In Red, MUNA, Haim and more.