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Taylor Swift fans sue Ticketmaster

"They messed with the wrong fan base," says one attorney as more than two dozen fans launch lawsuit over The Eras Tour presale

By James Hanley on 05 Dec 2022

Taylor Swift performs during One World: Together at Home

More than two dozen Taylor Swift fans are suing Ticketmaster owner Live Nation for “unlawful conduct”, alleging fraud, misrepresentation and antitrust violations over the controversial presale for the singer’s 2023 stadium tour.

Swift shifted a record 2.4 million tickets for her AEG-promoted 52-date The Eras Tour in a single day last month, but the sale was marred by reports of “significant service failures” and lengthy delays on Ticketmaster’s website.

Ticketmaster went on to cancel the scheduled general sale, citing “extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand” and issued a public apology to Swift and her fans.

Now, as part of a new lawsuit filed with the Superior Court of California in Los Angeles, the company is accused of “anticompetitive conduct… to impose higher prices on music concert attendees in the presale, sale and resale market”.

“Defendant’s anticompetitive behaviour has substantially harmed and will continue to substantially harm Taylor Swift fans,” says the 33-page filing on behalf of 26 plaintiffs.

“Global investment and financial services firm Citi last week upgraded its outlook for Live Nation”

The lawsuit is seeking $2,500 for each violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law. Jennifer Kinder, attorney for one of the complainants, tells the Washington Post that around 150 fans have expressed interest in being added to the suit since it was filed on Friday (2 December).

“They messed with the wrong fan base,” says Kinder.

The Eras Tour experienced “historically unprecedented demand” as 3.5m people pre-registered for Swift’s Verified Fan presale, 1.5m of whom were later invited to participate in the onsale. However, the Ticketmaster site struggled to cope with the traffic after being swamped by bot attacks. Seatgeek (which took on $238m in private equity investment in August) experienced similar technical issues ticketing five of the Swift dates.

Senators Amy Klobuchar and Mike Lee announced last month that a US Senate antitrust panel would look into a “lack of competition in ticketing markets”, in response to the cancelled onsale. However, global investment and financial services firm Citi last week upgraded its outlook for Live Nation, saying it was unlikely to be split up as a result of the panel.

Live Nation has not responded to the lawsuit, but previously addressed competition concerns in a lengthy statement.

“Live Nation takes its responsibilities under the antitrust laws seriously and does not engage in behaviours that could justify antitrust litigation, let alone orders that would require it to alter fundamental business practices,” it said.

 


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