Pa. attorney general wants to hear about Swifties’ ‘trouble, trouble, trouble’ with Ticketmaster

Frustrated fans are not ready to shake the situation off.

Taylor Swift; Pa. Attorney General (and Pa. Gov.-elect) Josh Shapiro

Taylor Swift; Pa. Attorney General (and Pa. Gov.-elect) Josh Shapiro

AP Photo
ashaprihar-headshot

This week has been anything but a fairytale for the Taylor Swift fans who weren’t able to score tickets to her upcoming tour. There were widespread reports of hours-long waits and technical glitches on Ticketmaster, the online vendor responsible for selling seats at most of the shows.

Many Swifties aren’t ready to shake the situation off, so things have escalated to the point that Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro is inviting residents to share how the ticketing company crushed their wildest dreams of seeing their fave in concert.

Shapiro — who in January will become Pa.’s next governor — wants to hear about the “trouble, trouble, trouble” Swifties of the commonwealth went through in the ticket-buying process.

His office put out the call because they had “been experiencing complaints regarding Ticketmaster and issues with these ticket sales,” per AG spokesperson Jacklin Rhoads.

Shapiro isn’t the first attorney general to publicly address the debacle. Tennessee AG Jonathan Skrmetti announced on Wednesday he plans to investigate consumer complaints about the company. Rhoads could not “confirm or deny the existence of any [Pennsylvania] investigation,” she said.

Swift will kick off the Eras Tour in Glendale, Arizona, next March. The pop star will play five shows in her home state: three in May at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field and two in June at Pittsburgh’s Acrisure Stadium.

It’s her first tour since 2018, and demand was huge. Tuesday at 10 a.m. was the first opportunity to buy tickets, but only for some people. Billed as a “Verified Fan” presale, it required registering ahead of time to enter a lottery for presale codes. These codes offered the opportunity to purchase up to six seats, but were not a guarantee.

Fewer than half the fans who signed up got those presale codes, per Ticketmaster — but even many lucky ones were left on the outside when they tried to buy tickets. Several stuck it out in a long queue with a nonspecific “2000+” fans ahead of them. Even then, some people got bounced back to the end of the queue once they’d made it to the front.

The situation left many fans feeling broken like a promise and harboring bad blood toward Ticketmaster, both locally and all around the country.

And the dream abruptly ended Thursday, when Ticketmaster announced there wouldn’t be any general public sale for the tour. Originally scheduled for Friday, it was canceled due to a lack of inventory.

Shapiro tweeted on Thursday inviting any Pennsylvanians who experienced difficulties using the site to submit a consumer complaint to his office.

Ticketmaster put out a statement following the debacle, acknowledging its technology wasn’t “perfect” and claiming unexpectedly high website traffic was the reason for the problems. The company said 1.5 million people were selected for the presale, but a “staggering number of bot attacks as well as fans who didn’t have invite codes drove unprecedented traffic on our site.”

The site slowed down sales in response, causing long queuing times for some fans, per the statement, which said 15% of “interactions across the site” saw issues, like validation errors when people entered their codes. Despite the issues, Ticketmaster sold over 2 million tickets — “the most tickets ever sold for an artist in a single day,” according to the company.

The ticketing snafu prompted a lot of criticism from politicians in Washington, with some calling out the company’s 2010 merger with Live Nation as a “monopoly” that unfairly disadvantages consumers.

On Tuesday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York City, tweeted that Ticketmaster should be broken up. And Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who chairs the Senate’s antitrust committee, wrote an open letter to Ticketmaster’s CEO accusing the company of taking unfair advantage of its position in the ticket market.

Ticketmaster has previously faced criticism for its dominance of the live events market, particularly its use of “dynamic pricing,” which adjusts ticket prices based on demand.

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