Music Industry

People who are calling for the break-up of Ticketmaster over the Taylor Swift fiasco are COMPLETELY missing the point

After millions of Swifties succeeded in crashing Ticketmaster’s servers, the company has postponed the general on-sale of tickets for her Eras tour. Work needs to be done so this doesn’t happen again.

According to Pitchfork, Ticketmaster was hit with 3.5 billion system requests, which was four times the previously highest number. The company says that in addition to the 1.5 million “verified” Tay-Tay fans trying to get tickets (fans pre-vetted and given a special code), more than 12 million non-verified people tried to horn in. Ticketmaster was also hit by a “staggering number” of bots. About two million tickets were sold–an all-time Ticketmaster record–before sales were halted.

Ticketmaster has some of the most robust technical infrastructures out there, a nearly nuclear-attack-proof system. And Swifties brought it down. “We strive to make ticket buying as easy as possible for fans,” said TM, “but that hasn’t been the case for many people trying to buy tickets for the Eras Tour.”

It’s a textbook example of demand outstripping supply. Didn’t get tickets? Join the club. One executive said that if everyone who requested tickets this week got them, it would have been enough to fill 900 stadiums. Put another way, Tay-Tay could have played a stadium every night for the next two-and-a-half years.

How many tickets are left? No one is sure. If there are, when will they go on sale? Beats me. Fans are disappointed, but what are you gonna do?

While people are all over Ticketmaster for not being able to handle the rush (politicians are trying to score cheap populist points by demanding that Ticketmaster be investigated and broken up), that’s missing the point. The real story is Taylor Swift’s insane popularity. That should be what everyone is talking about.

There are a lot of reasons you may want to pile hate on Ticketmaster. But explain to me how ordering a break-up of the company would have prevented this fiasco from happening. This has nothing to do with monopolies. It has everything to do with demand and a failure of technology when subjected to unprecedented strain.

Ticketmaster will learn from this and upgrade their systems to keep ahead of the bots. And while people will always find a reason to hate the company, the truth is that no one has come up with a viable alternative.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38524 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

3 thoughts on “People who are calling for the break-up of Ticketmaster over the Taylor Swift fiasco are COMPLETELY missing the point

  • ‘ But explain to me how ordering a break-up of the company would have prevented this fiasco from happening.’ – They pre-sold all tickets to stadiums in presale. Unheard of. 99% of venues hold back 2/3 for general public sale. Their special fan code was same one sent out to thousands and those people shared the codes. TM could have sent out individual codes like you get by text when you log into your bank, then limit it to 4 tickets per person. Ticketmaster is at fault.

  • I’m old enough to remember queuing up to buy paper tickets at record stores and the venue door so I’m not sure I can join you in this argument (or any argument) that defends Ticketmaster’s platform or their policies. At first Ticketmaster offered convenience for a fee but with their growth as a monopoly of the large theater/arena/stadia circuit those days are gone. Ticketmaster does virtually nothing with the fan’s or even the performer’s best interest in mind. Everything they do is about keeping the cost of tickets as high as a possible because it is good for them.

  • Ticket master needs to stop selling the whole tour on the same date. They should go back to the days that each show had a different on sale date.


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