The Department of Justice has launched an antitrust investigation into the owner of Ticketmaster after its sale of Taylor Swift concert tickets devolved into utter chaos this week.
The investigation will focus on whether Live Nation Entertainment abused its dominance over the multibillion dollar live music industry.
The investigation predates even the botched launch of a presale for Swift’s upcoming tour after Ticketmaster’s system crashed and left millions of fans who had waited hours in the queue to purchase tickets with no way to access them.
Since taking office President Biden has taken on a number of corporate mergers he says violate antitrust law. It mounted successful challenges to proposed mergers like Penguin Random House’s attempted purchase of Simon & Schuster, but lost out on others.
The new investigation is only the latest scrutiny of Live Nation Entertainment, which is the product of a 2010 Justice Department-approved merger between Live Nation and Ticketmaster.
That merger created a mega-corporation that has dominated the ticket sales industry unlike any other. In 2019, its last year of business before the Covid-19 pandemic, Ticketmaster sold 485 million tickets at over 40,000 shows.
Taylor Swift has blasted Ticketmaster for the mayhem surrounding her recent ticket sale, claiming that she was ‘assured’ the company could handle the high demand ‘multiple times’ and calling it ‘excruciating’ to ‘watch mistakes happen with no recourse.’
Pre-sale for the 32-year-old singer’s highly anticipated upcoming Eras Tour kicked off earlier this week – but it ended in disaster for many, who were unable to secure any tickets after waiting hours in a queue on Ticketmaster, only for the site to crash repeatedly during the checkout process.
Afterwards, the ticket selling website sparked even more fury from Swifties when it announced that the public sale, which was set to take place at 10am today, was canceled due to ‘extraordinarily high demands and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand.’
Now, Taylor has spoken out about the situation in a statement posted to her Instagram Stories, and she said she is just as ‘pissed off’ as everyone else is.
‘It goes without saying that I’m extremely protective of my fans,’ she began in the lengthy post.
We’ve been doing this for decades together and over the years, I’ve brought so many elements of my career in house.’
Taylor went on to explain – without mentioning the company by name – that she chose to use Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan system because she thought it would ‘improve the quality of her fans’ experience,’ despite it being ‘really difficult’ for her to ‘trust an outside entity.’
‘I’ve done this SPECIFICALLY to improve the quality of my fans’ experience by doing it myself with my team, who care as much about my fans as I do,’ she continued.
‘It’s really difficult for me to trust an outside entity with these relationships and loyalties, and excruciating for me to just watch mistakes happen with no recourse.’
The Cardigan songstress added that there were ‘multiple reasons why people had such a hard time trying to get tickets’ and that she’s currently ‘trying to figure out how the situation can be improved moving forward.’
‘I’m not going to make excuses for anyone because we asked them, multiple times, if they could handle this kind of demand and we were assured they could,’ she said.
‘It’s truly amazing that 2.4 million people got tickets, but it really pisses me off that a lot of them feel like they went through several bear attacks to get them.’
She concluded her message with a note to those who weren’t able to get their hands on a ticket, writing, ‘All I can say is that my hope is to provide more opportunities for us all to get together and sing these songs.
‘Thank you for wanting to be there. You have no idea how much that means.’
After the ticket fiasco, thousands of Taylor’s fans took to social media to share their heartbreak, posting videos of themselves sobbing and begging for Taylor to step in and do something.