Taylor Swift fans sue Ticketmaster: Will David thwart Goliath?

Fans of pop culture icon Taylor Swift are a force to be reckoned with. The media is well aware of the lengths the Swifties, as Swift fans call themselves, will go to catch a glimpse of her favorite star. Well, things came to a head when Ticketmaster botched the sale of the composer’s upcoming Eras Tour. Angry Taylor Swift fans have sued Ticketmaster, alleging that the ticketing platform is engaged in fraudulent practices.

More than two dozen Swifties from more than 13 US states banded together and filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court on December 2. The plaintiffs allege that Ticketmaster’s monopoly in the primary and secondary markets has resulted in fraudulent practices to the detriment of the consumer.

Swifties Lawsuit
Taylor Swift’s Era Tour will launch in 2023. (Taylor Swift during her show in Brazil; Image Credit: Shutterstock)

Taylor Swift admires Sue Ticketmaster

In November, the Swifties blocked Ticketmaster’s website for hours, some even days, from accessing tickets they had previously registered for. But unfortunately, you couldn’t have it. Some fans complained that one moment the Eras Tour tickets were in their cart while the next they were available on the secondary market for three times the price. To say they were furious is an understatement.

  • Ticketmaster later canceled sales to the general public, citing “extraordinarily high demand” and “insufficient remaining ticket inventory”.
  • The Swifties took to social media to express their anger at the colossal mismanagement that resulted in this fiasco. Some tickets reportedly reached as high as $20,000 each.
  • One day after the debacle, Live Nation Entertainment, Ticketmaster’s parent company, apologized to Swifties for the experience. The Live Nation CEO mentioned that he understands why fans took their complaints to social media and that they have to “deal with it every day.”

The quick reaction caught the attention of the media, but also New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who took to Twitter to share her thoughts.

As Taylor Swift fans sue Ticketmaster, one thing they want to highlight is how much the company’s monopoly allowed her to command higher prices for fans in the pre-sale, sale and resale markets. By controlling all aspects of ticketing related to The Eras Tour, fans had no choice but to use the site.

The lawsuit states: “Ticketmaster is a monopoly that is only interested in taking every dollar it can from a captive audience.”

It goes on to say: “Defendant’s anti-competitive behavior has and will continue to substantially harm Taylor Swift’s fans, as well as competition on the ticketing scoreboard and the secondary market for ticket services.”

The Swifties seek a $2,500 fine for each violationwhich can number in the millions as hordes of fans did not receive tickets and were left waiting.

Fans accused Live Nation of deliberately misleading fans by providing codes to nearly 1.4 million verified fans despite not having enough inventory. “Ticketmaster intentionally provided codes when it was unable to meet the demands,” the Swifties lawsuit states.

Swifties Lawsuit
Taylor Swift fans in 15 states have filed a lawsuit against Ticketmaster after the Eras Tour ticket sales debacle. (Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour Poster; Image Credit: TaylorSwift/Instagram)

Ticketmaster and Monopoly on concert tickets

The ticket sales debacle has drawn the ire of everyone, from lawmakers to fans, who denounced the economic problem related to concert tickets.

The Swifties lawsuit highlights the harm the public suffers when a company puts its tentacles into all aspects of a certain market. It is estimated that Ticketmaster is in control of almost 90% of the ticketing market.

  • In March, long before the Taylor Swift debacle, US Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) urged the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate Live Nation’s antitrust violationsas its ever-increasing rates have negatively affected consumers.
  • The Senators wrote to the DOJ saying Ticketmaster was content to charge consumers exorbitant fees while buying up the competition, leaving artists and fans no choice but to go through them to host events.
  • Live Nation has been accused of charging almost 75% of the face value of a concert ticket in processing fees. Concerned senators wrote to the Justice Department about the company’s aggressive tactics that have nearly eliminated competition as they he continues to reap obscene profits by overcharging customers.

“We write to urge the Department to investigate the state of competition in the ticketing and live entertainment industry, including potential anti-competitive and consumer actions by Live Nation, and to take action, as appropriate, to enforce antitrust laws and restore competition. to these important markets,” Blumenthal and Klobuchar wrote to DOJ Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division, Jonathan Kanter.

The letter continues: “We are deeply concerned that the Department’s prior enforcement and negotiated remedies in this industry have failed to adequately encourage and protect competition in the live entertainment and ticketing markets.”

In late November, the Justice Department admitted it had opened an antitrust investigation into the owner of Ticketmaster, to see if claims the company abuses its power in the multibillion-dollar music industry are true.

As Taylor Swift fans sue Ticketmaster, they hope more angry Swifties will join the cause and highlight the rampant malpractices that are prevalent in the music industry.

The Rise of Ticketmaster

From 1982 to 1998, Fred Rosen was the CEO of Ticketmaster and a genius at what he did. The deals he struck laid the foundation for Ticketmaster’s unassailable monopoly in the field of ticketing.

When Fred Rosen was CEO, he approached venues and promoters and suggested doubling service fees. at event tickets. At that point, venues would actively try to lower service fees so more fans could attend the event.

But Rosen won them over by sweetening the deal. He promised to share the revenue with them if they agreed to sign with Ticketmaster. Nearly 80% of big venues proceed to sign exclusive deals with the company.

No one could have estimated the heady power that Ticketmaster would wield in the years to come. His merger with event promoter Live Nation in 2010 made her virtually untouchable.

This day, Live Nation owns concert venues, ticketing systems, promotes tours and a streaming entertainment company., Veeps. These factors helped him become the ultimate authority in deciding prices and dictating the terms of how events should be run.

Over the years, the company has faced numerous lawsuits alleging price fixing, rate gouging, and anti-competitive behavior, among others.

The dark side of monopolies

Monopolies stifle innovation and encourage price gouging.

Since there are no worthy competitors, sellers in a monopoly market conduct business according to their whims and fancies.

Buyers cannot change companysince they have no other options in the market.

Since monopolies face inelastic demand, consumers could be forced to shell out much more than they can afford.

Industry analysts hope that the demand for Swifties will bring some much-needed regulation to the ticketing market.

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