Tennessee, North Carolina AGs investigates Ticketmaster’s pre-sale of Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift performing at Nissan Stadium in 2018. Photo Credit: John Shearer/TAS18/Getty Images for TAS

Tennessee and North Carolina attorneys general are investigating Ticketmaster following complaints from Taylor Swift fans who are upset about their chaotic experience trying to purchase tickets during presale.

Driving the news: Ticketmaster said Thursday it canceled general public ticket sales for Swift’s upcoming Eras Tour after a chaotic and glitch-filled presale event.

  • North Carolina AG Josh Stein tweeted Thursday afternoon that his office examines Ticketmaster for alleged violation of consumer rights and antitrust laws.
  • Stein’s tweet came two days after Tennessee AG’s Jonathan Skrmetti announced: also on Twitterthat he had referred the matter to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division.

Why it matters: The state government’s scrutiny of Ticketmaster comes as members of Congress have expressed similar concerns about the corporate giant’s outsized role in the live music industry.

  • Ticketmaster is part of Live Nation and gives the company tremendous power in how concerts are promoted, booked and sold to fans. In Nashville, the company has expanded its portfolio of smaller venue partners in recent years.

Catch up fast: Tuesday’s presale for Swift’s 2023 stadium tour rocked Ticketmaster’s website. Fans with codes distributed by Ticketmaster waited for hours while online queues were frozen. Some got nothing.

  • Shoppers who attended another Presale Wednesday experienced a similar slog.

Details: In a press conference on Wednesday, Skrmetti said it was his job to ensure consumer protection laws and antitrust laws were followed.

  • “We know that pre-sale codes have been given to consumers to purchase tickets and we need to look closely at what they were promised and whether it was made available,” Skrmetti said.
  • Skrmetti said there were complaints about a lack of customer support from Ticketmaster, with shoppers being told they would have to wait up to five days for help.

What he says: Skrmetti said he’s seen reports that Ticketmaster’s market share in concert tickets is as high as 70%.

  • “Any time you have this concentration of market share, there is a risk that the lack of competition will not only drive up prices for consumers, but will also reduce the quality of the product,” he said.
  • If Ticketmaster violates consumer protection laws, the state can impose fines, Skrmetti said. Or, “more importantly,” he said, the state could seek a court order leading the company to “better address the issues that have arisen.” [Tuesday] that will not happen again.”

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with a tweet from North Carolinas AG announcing an investigation by Ticketmaster.