Taylor Swift Causes Court Case

Katherine Terese

More stories from Katherine Terese


Where was Taylor Swift on April 29th? We may never know, but on November 15th, 1.5 million Taylor Swift fans were on Ticketmaster. It all started on November 1st, when Taylor announced The Eras Tour with 27 stadium shows (later adding shows for a total of 52). From then to November 9th, fans could register for pre-sale. By waiting in line, logging in to Ticketmaster, and then registering for pre-sale, you were entered in a lottery to receive a pre-sale code the night before pre-sale tickets went live. This meant not everyone that registered for pre-sale got the opportunity to enter the pre-sale line. The goal of fan verified presale was to reduce bots in the queue and make sure actual fans got a shot at tickets. According to Ticketmaster in a now deleted blog post, “Over 3.5 million people pre-registered– which is the largest registration in history.”

On November 14th, I and 1.5 million others received a text with a code to enter the pre-sale line. 

The problems arose right then and there. Fans who had purchased tickets to Taylor’s Lover Fest (canceled due to covid) or items from her online store were promised a boost in line, but few of them actually received codes. Meanwhile, fans like myself received codes despite not having any prior purchases.


The Great War truly began at 9:30 am the morning of pre-sale. Ticketmaster was down worldwide, there’s been a glitch. Who would have thought that if you give 1.5 million people codes, 1.5 million people would show up? Apparently, not Ticketmaster. In that deleted blog post I mentioned, they admitted to only expecting 40% of fans to show up. Taylor Swift said in an Instagram post days later, “I’m not going to make excuses for anyone because we asked them multiple times if they could handle this kind of demand, and we were assured they could.” At 10am, the official beginning of the sale, I was placed in line with a supposed “2000+” people in front of me. 

Back at school, scholar Spencer Payne was also in line during his free period. Spencer was almost immediately put through the queue and into seating selection. “I had the tickets in my cart, but when I went to pay, the site crashed. I felt defeated as not only did it feel like I wouldn’t be able to go to the concert, but that I was letting my friends down all because I got cheated out of tickets,” Spencer said. He had been responsible for purchasing tickets for 6 people, the max allowed by Ticketmaster. He was not alone in this struggle, as thousands took to social media to share similar site failures. 

After trying and failing to get tickets for hours, I finally got through. When I did, the only seats left were the very last row in the stadium, but it was this or nothing so I bought tickets and prayed the purchase would go through.

According to calculations by bookies.com, a website dedicated to all things sports and stadiums, people were more likely to get into Harvard than get tickets to Taylor Swift the Eras Tour. Despite this statistic, I was disappointed in my seats, but I tried to shake it off and hold out hope I could do better in the general on-sale. Unfortunately, we were not out of the woods yet, because that is when Ticketmaster took to Twitter to announce that they had sold out of tickets during the pre-sale and there would be no general sale. As Taylor Swift once said, to  “say it in a Tweet, that’s a cop-out”.


What if I told you none of it was accidental? Over on SeatGeek, a ticket resale website, almost the entire stadium worth of tickets was being sold for a steep price incline of almost $20,000 each. This led fans to believe Ticketmaster may have been a part of bigger crimes. Did Tickermaster sell the tickets to Seatgeek for a profit? How could they possibly sell all the tickets before the public sale? This and so many other questions arose as millions of fans were left without tickets. 

Ticketmaster had a big reputation but that didn’t stop someone from telling their white collar crimes to the FBI. Fans have banned together to sue the company for fraud. The official complaint saying, “Ticketmaster breached the contract by failing to actually provide the proper pre-sale it promised. Ticketmaster was responsible for addressing every issue. Ticketmaster either intended for this to happen from the beginning or knew these issues were present, yet Ticketmaster intentionally made no mention of this and hid information from buyers, including plaintiffs”. This case seeks $2,500 for every violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law that makes false advertising illegal. 

On January 24, the United States Senate grilled Live Nation (Ticketmaster’s parent company), on their dominance over the ticketing industry. Industry witnesses described Live Nation as having monopoly-like control over ticketing, venues, artists, and consumers. Ticketmaster represents over 70% of all tickets sold in the United States. Additionally, Ticketmaster owns 5% of U.S. venues. According to a singer and songwriter that spoke to lawmakers, if his band plays at a Ticketmaster venue he is required to use them to promote the event and sell tickets. Ticket scalping, by companies like Seatgeek was also discussed, and blamed the problem partially on Ticketmasters hidden ticket fees of about 40%-50% of the ticket price. This is why we can’t have nice things.

Jerry Mickelson, the chief executive of Jam Productions said during the hearing,“For the leading ticket company not to be able to handle bots is, for me, an unbelievable statement. You can’t blame bots for what happened to Taylor Swift. There’s more to that story that you’re not hearing.”  

This case brought something we haven’t seen much of recently, Republicans and Democrats together. Both seemed to agree that something has to be done. Democratic Senator Richard Blumentha said in the trial, “This whole concert ticket system is a mess. May I suggest respectfully that Ticketmaster ought to look in the mirror and say, ‘I’m the problem, It’s me.’”

No new legislation has been put into place as of February 2023.


Lets just say Ticketmaster should be terrified to look down ‘Cause if you dare, you’ll see the glare, Of everyone you burned just to get there, It’s coming back around…