More than two dozen Taylor Swift fans filed a lawsuit against Ticketmaster parent company Live Nation Entertainment for “unlawful conduct” in the disastrous on-sale for the singer’s 2023 tour dates, claiming that the company — which is the world’s largest ticketing outlet — violated antitrust laws, among other allegations.
The lawsuit, which was filed in California on Friday, echoes familiar complaints against Ticketmaster and Live Nation, claiming that the companies are anti-competitive and force fans to use its site exclusively, and control all registration and access to Swift’s tour, according to CNN. This latter claim is at least partially inaccurate, because six of the tour’s 52 dates are not controlled by Ticketmaster.
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It also claims that Ticketmaster’s agreements with the stadiums on the tour amounts to a stranglehold on ticket availability and access; it It also alleges that Ticketmaster profits off the resale of tickets in the secondary market by adding a service fee.
The fans are seeking a penalty of $2,500 for each violation, although it seems likely that others may join in the lawsuit, given the countless thousands of complaints from angry fans.
“Ticketmaster is a monopoly that is only interested in taking every dollar it can from a captive public,” the lawsuit reads in part, adding that the company “intentionally and purposely mislead TaylorSwiftTix presale ticket holders by providing codes to 1.4 million ‘verified fans’… Millions of fans waited up to eight hours and were unable to purchase tickets as a result of insufficient ticket releases. Ticketmaster intentionally provided codes when it could not satisfy demands.”
A total of 26 fans from all across the country filed the lawsuit; an attorney representing them told CNN it is waiting acceptance by the court clerk.
Live Nation posted a message on its website saying it “takes its responsibilities under the antitrust laws seriously” and “does not engage in behaviors that could justify antitrust litigation, let alone orders that would require it to alter fundamental business practices.”
When the tickets went on sale Nov. 15, the company’s website crashed because of the fan demand, while tons of fans who did get into the queue had to wait for over two hours to get a chance at purchasing tickets. Other fans were blindsided by being sent to a wait list.
In a statement Swift said her team had asked Ticketmaster “multiple times if they could handle this kind of demand and we were assured they could.” She said the situation “pissed me off” and added that it was “excruciating for me to just watch mistakes happen with no recourse.”
Late last month, Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Mike Lee (R-UT) announced that a U.S. Senate antitrust panel will hold a hearing on the lack of competition in the industry.
Contacted by Variety, a rep for Ticketmaster parent company Live Nation referred back to the company’s statement last week, which said in part, “The Eras on sale made one thing clear: Taylor Swift is an unstoppable force and continues to set records,” Ticketmaster wrote in its explanation. “We strive to make ticket buying as easy as possible for fans, but that hasn’t been the case for many people trying to buy tickets for the Eras Tour. We want to share some information to help explain what happened.”