Ticketmaster apologizes to Taylor Swift and her fans for sales debacle

ticket master has formally apologized to Taylor Swift and their fans over the ticket situation that left millions frustrated and infuriated this week. The company’s apology came in a statement issued late Friday, about half a day after Swift expressed her anger over the fiasco in a spirited post, describing herself as “angry” about an “unbearable” situation and apparently blaming the headline trouble at Ticketmaster’s feet.

In its statement on Friday night, the company wrote: “We strive to make buying tickets as easy as possible for fans, but that hasn’t been the case for many people trying to buy tickets for the tour.” The Eras’ by Taylor Swift. First, we want to apologize to Taylor and all of her fans, especially those who had a terrible experience trying to purchase tickets.”

Much of the lengthy statement linked to a tweet sent out by Ticketmaster around 11 p.m. ET on Friday was identical to the one the company had posted and then removed on Thursday, but now with a newly tagged apology at the beginning. The previous day’s version of the since-revised “explanation” did not include any apology language, drawing further anger from many fans before it was removed from the Ticketmaster website.

Even now, the release focuses on statistics indicating that ticket demand was unpredictable, touting the sale mostly as a success story and a record, noting that while there were problems, “2 million tickets were sold.” tickets on Ticketmaster…on November 15: the most tickets ever sold for an artist in a single day.”

That Ticketmaster would have to modify its previous defensive stance to include an apology was inevitable after Swift expressed her dissatisfaction with the company on Friday morning. In a statement on her Instagram Stories, Swift wrote: “I have brought so many elements of my career internally. I’ve done this SPECIFICALLY to improve the quality of my fan experience by doing it myself with my team who care as much about my fans as I do. It’s really hard for me to trust an outside entity with these relationships and loyalties, and it’s excruciating for me to watch mistakes happen without any recourse.”

Although Swift did not name Ticketmaster in her statement, she did refer to a “they” that left no doubt who she was referring to. “There are a multitude of reasons why people had such a hard time getting tickets and I am trying to figure out how this situation can be improved in the future,” she wrote. “I am not going to make excuses to anyone because we asked them, several times, if they could handle this type of lawsuit and they assured us that they could. It’s really amazing that 2.4 million people got tickets, but it really pisses me off that so many of them feel like they went through several bear attacks to get them.”

In the amended statement issued late Friday, Ticketmaster was still heavily emphasizing the positive, arguing that the Verified Fan program, which adds extra steps for queuing for tickets, had been especially successful in preventing tickets from going to scalpers. “Less than 5% of tour tickets have been sold or posted for resale on the secondary market,” the company noted. “Online sales that don’t use Verified Fan typically see 20-30% of inventory ending up in secondary markets.”

Ticketmaster’s statement, titled “Taylor Swift The Eras Tour Sale Explained,” can be read in full. here. (The earlier version without the apology to Swift can still be seen in a Music Business Worldwide story here.)

In a repeat of its earlier language, Ticketmaster suggested that its ticket release wasn’t “perfect,” without straying too close to guilt. “The biggest venues and artists turn to us because we have the world’s leading ticketing technology; that’s not to say it’s perfect, and clearly for the sale of Taylor Swift’s ‘The Eras Tour’ it wasn’t. But we’re always working to improve the ticketing experience. Especially for high-demand oversells, which continue to test new limits. We are working to bolster our technology to the new standard that has been set by the Taylor Swift ‘The Eras’ Tour demand. Once we get past that, if there are any next steps, updates will be shared accordingly.”

The company announced earlier in the week that the general public sale of Swift’s tour would be canceled entirely, because there was very little inventory left after advance sales from Verified Fan and Capital One cardholders sold out the vast majority of tickets. tickets available for all 52 US stadium shows the singer has scheduled for next summer.

Ticketmaster also maintained that it would be impossible to meet the demand for Swift tickets. “Based on the volume of traffic to our site, Taylor would need to perform over 900 stadium shows (nearly 20 times the number of shows she is performing),” the company wrote in its statement. “That’s a stadium show every night for the next 2.5 years.” The company did not say exactly what kind of site traffic it was measuring to conclude that Swift would have to sell out nearly 1,000 successive stadium shows to keep up with US demand.

Friday night was unusually busy for both Ticketmaster and living nation on the public relations front. The two related companies (Live Nation at Ticketmaster’s parent) issued statements almost simultaneously to defend themselves amid heated controversies that came to a boil this week, though Ticketmaster was in a position to belatedly apologize for the Swift mess.

Live Nation’s last-minute statement, which was completely unapologetic, was in response to reports that the Justice Department was looking into antitrust issues with the companies, and it came after a resulting drop in Live Nation shares of nearly 8% in Friday trading before closing at $66.21.

In its own separate statement, defending Ticketmaster’s policies and practices, Live Nation wrote that there was nothing wrong with the company’s massive dominance, stating that “Ticketmaster has a significant share of the mainstream market for ticket issuance services.” tickets due to the large gap that exists between the quality of the Ticketmaster system and the next best primary ticketing system. However, the market is increasingly competitive and rivals are making aggressive bids for venues. That Ticketmaster continues to be the leader in such an environment is a testament to the platform and those who operate it, not to any anti-competitive business practice. … We innovate and invest in our technology more than any other ticketing company, and we will continue to do so.”

Although complaints have been raised that Ticketmaster has moved aggressively to host resale tickets on its own site, Live Nation wrote: “Secondary ticketing is extremely competitive, with Ticketmaster competing with StubHub, SeatGeek, Vivid and many others. It cannot be seriously argued that Ticketmaster has the kind of market position in secondary ticketing that supports antitrust claims.”

Live Nation expressed possibly surprising agreement with an idea often broached by angry fans, that the many additional fees tagged into each ticket sale should be combined into a single price that consumers see. Live Nation “strongly advocates all-inclusive pricing so fans are not surprised by what tickets actually cost,” he said in the statement.

It remains to be seen if Live Nation’s stock will turn bullish next week or remain subject to, as Taylor Swift would say, “bear attacks.”

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