The collapse in Ticketmaster sales of Taylor Swift tickets is a mess some attorney generals aren’t shaking off.
Amid fans’ outrage and grief over the fruitless hours they’ve spent trying to secure seats for Swift’s upcoming concert tour, senior justice chiefs in Nevada, Tennessee and Pennsylvania have launched investigations into the fiasco.
“Trouble, trouble, trouble,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro tweeted, referencing Swift’s 2012 hit “I Knew You Were Trouble,” when he urged the public to file grievances about his office’s use of Ticketmaster .
Shapiro, a Democrat who recently won Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial race, has since thanked people for their “quick response” and noted that his office had “many complaints” to consider.
Over in Tennessee, Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti said he wants to make sure consumers have a fair chance when buying tickets.
“There are currently no allegations of wrongdoing, but as attorney general, my job is to ensure that consumer protection and antitrust laws are followed in Tennessee,” Skrmetti told reporters.
In 2008, Tennessee enacted what it called an “anti-bot” law that prohibits the use of certain computer programs to purchase large quantities of tickets to concerts and sporting events. However, as in most states that have enacted similar bans, the law has rarely been enforced.
Meanwhile, the Nevada attorney general’s office said it was investigating Ticketmaster for “alleged fraudulent or unfair trading practices.”
The trouble began when registered fans, who were given pre-sale codes on Tuesday, tried to secure tickets for Swift’s 52-date The Eras tour next year. They were quickly faced with lengthy delays and error messages that Ticketmaster blamed on bots and historically unprecedented demand. The company then canceled Friday’s sales to the general public.
Swift vented her anger and frustration in a lengthy statement, saying she had been assured by Ticketmaster that they could handle the demand.
“It’s really difficult for me to entrust those relationships and allegiances to an outside entity, and it’s excruciating for me to just watch failures happen without recourse,” Swift said.
Ticketmaster said that despite the problems, more than 2 million tickets were sold, setting a new daily record for artists on the platform, and that only 15 percent of potential buyers had problems with the process.
“We want to apologize to Taylor and all of her fans — especially those who have had a horrible experience trying to purchase tickets,” the company said.
Multiple lawmakers have accused Ticketmaster of abusing its power as the dominant consumer ticket seller.
U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust and Consumer Rights, wrote an open letter to Ticketmaster President and CEO Michael Rapino, saying she has been skeptical of his company since it merged with LiveNation in 2011 Her letter contained several questions about Ticketmaster’s business practices, which she was scheduled to answer to Rapino by next week.
When asked about reports that the Justice Department was investigating Live Nation, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre declined to comment on specifics, but said President Joe Biden has been working to increase competition and to limit the power of large corporations, and believes that a “lack of competition leads to higher prices and poorer service.”