Ticketmaster is ruining the live music industry

Amber Serio, Contributor

Ticketmaster, the American booking and ticketing service that fuels the entertainment industry, is facing immense scrutiny after the events of the Taylor Swift Eras Tour ticket sale. This incident, which occurred in mid-November, was the result of the Ticketmaster Verified Fan System’s insufficiency. 

Ticketmaster created the Verified Fan System to ensure bots and professional scalpers are restricted from the ticket-buying process. At the same time, fans are supposed to gain pre-sale access to tickets upon registering and being accepted as verified fans. Fans who register, but are not accepted into the pre-sale, are still supposed to have fair access to purchasing tickets during the general sale. 

According to an article published by the New York Times, Ticketmaster sent out 1.5 million presale codes but was overwhelmed with 3.5 billion system requests on the day of the pre-sale. This demand — which Ticketmaster claimed they would be prepared for — caused many problems for verified fans, such as prolonged wait times and app crashes that resulted in fans either being dissatisfied with their tickets or receiving no tickets whatsoever. 

Unfortunately, the fiasco did not end on the first day of sales. Fans with Capital One cards received exclusive access to Swift’s tour but faced the same problems as fans the day before. After this, Ticketmaster completely canceled the general sale, leaving fans who did not receive pre-sale access in the dust.

Swift fans were outraged and disappointed by the fiasco. Millions of fans spent hours of their time and energy attempting to receive tickets to no avail. This presale disaster received global attention and resulted in the intentions and domain capacity of Ticketmaster being questioned not only by users of the platform but also by lawmakers and state authorities. 

As a result, Ticketmaster is now being sued by more than two dozen Swift fans who have filed class-action lawsuits against Ticketmaster and its corresponding event promoter and venue operator, Live Nation. The lawsuits accuse the ticketing service of fraud, misrepresentation and antitrust violations as a direct result of the Eras Tour ticket sale mishaps. 

Additionally, the Department of Justice (DOJ) opened an antitrust investigation into the owner of Ticketmaster. This investigation concerns whether the company has been abusing its power as the primary driver of the live music industry. The DOJ has since been actively appointing members of their antitrust division staff to contact music artists and venues to decipher whether or not Ticketmaster and Live Nation are authentically upholding the image they paint to the public eye. 

Though Ticketmaster and Live Nation both have expressed their apologies and taken full responsibility for the fiasco, live music lovers feel their access to the entertainment industry is being attacked. It is evident that change is vital for the live music industry to continue to thrive. Music is a gateway for people from all walks of life to feel understood, express themselves and escape from reality. For most people, music is personal and should be taken seriously with careful thought. Unfortunately, Ticketmaster and Live Nation have made it clear that their commitment to customer satisfaction could easily be broken, just as it was on the day of this disaster. 

If music lovers are unable to rely on the only booking and ticketing powerhouse of the live music industry, disappointment and failure are practically inevitable for the future of the live music industry’s ticketing services. A change is long overdue.