Taylor Swift Fans Break Ticketmaster

Ticketmaster has canceled the public ticket sale for Taylor Swift’s upcoming tour — one day before it was scheduled to begin, following days of presale drama in what the company says was an unprecedented level of demand.

On Tuesday, the first of several ticket ‘presales’ for Swift’s concert tour was opened via Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan program, a system that requires potential buyers to register in advance for a chance to be selected to buy tickets, and receive an access code via email. It’s designed to allow Ticketmaster to determine which ones are real humans and limit the sale to those who are more determined, avoiding bots and speculators.

When it went live, Ticketmaster claims that it received 3.5 billion system requests on the day, which is four times more than its record. The company explained in a now-deleted blog post published on Thursday that 3.5 million people registered for the Verified Fan program, and about 1.5 million were given the access code to purchase tickets, while the rest — all two million of them — were put on a waiting list.

“Never before has a Verified Fan on sale sparked so much attention — or uninvited volume,” Ticketmaster said, noting that two million tickets were sold on Tuesday alone, the most ever sold in a single day for an artist.

The problem was the Verified Fan program did not seem to work as designed because fans found that tickets were being resold on StubHub and similar reselling sites at insane markups, some going over tens of thousands.

The ticket seller quickly blamed Swift’s fans and diverted attention away from the platform’s apparent limitations.

“It’s a function of Taylor Swift,” Greg Maffei said on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street earlier on Thursday. “The site was supposed to open up for 1.5 million verified Taylor Swift fans. We had 14 million people hit the site, including bots, which are not supposed to be there.” Maffei is chairman of Live Nation Entertainment, Ticketmaster’s parent company.

The canceled public sale on Friday was supposed to be for tickets not sold during the presales. The ticket seller did not say whether they still have any more inventory left to sell and Swift’s camp has yet to provide an update on the matter.

Swift has been on a record-breaking spree, having recently became the first-ever artist to occupy all top 10 slots on the Billboard Hot 100.

The past week’s chaos has also brought back to light issues hounding the 2010 merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster. Among its critics is Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, who has called to “break up” the monopoly and encouraged people to take action.

Information for this briefing was found via The New York Times, Buzzfeed News, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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