Ticketmaster blame cyber attack for Taylor Swift tour sale issues

Taylor Swift performing live on-stage

Ticketmaster has blamed a cyber attack for well-publicised issues surrounding the ticket sale for Taylor Swift’s 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 has also been 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.

Today (January 24), a Senate-backed antitrust panel began a hearing on the lack of competition in the ticketing industry.

As BBC News report, Joe Berchtold – the president of Ticketmaster’s parent company Live Nation – said in a pre-hearing statement that “valuable lessons” were learned from the sale.

Berchtold 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, he 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.”

Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift CREDIT: Tommaso Boddi/WireImage

As well as US lawmakers calling for an investigation into the company, two US senators have 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”.

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 next March, running on through to August with a total of 52 shows on the itinerary with special guests across the run including ParamorebeabadoobeePhoebe BridgersGirl In RedMUNAHaim and more.

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