Will Taylor Swift fans FINALLY be able get their hands on tour tickets? Ticketmaster faces being broken up in US lawsuit after fan fury at botched concert sales

Taylor Swift

 

Music fans across the UK are rejoicing after Ticketmaster’s parent company Live Nation Entertainment was sued over monopolising the live events industry in the US, sparking hopes it will soon be easier to land tickets for popular artists such as Taylor Swift.

 

Taylor Swift

The civil case, filed with the support of 30 states and the US Department of Justice, accuses the firm of using various practices to ensure it maintains a monopoly over live event ticketing services which amount to ‘exclusionary conduct’.

It states this leads to customers paying higher ticket prices, artists having fewer opportunities to play gigs and venues having fewer choices in ticketing firms, and calls for the firm to be broken up.

It comes after Taylor Swift hit out at the ticketing giant after a fiasco sale for her sell-out Eras tour saw a general release of tickets cancelled.

Fans were left furious after a pre-sale event saw all tickets sold – meaning the general release could not go ahead.

Many UK fans were also left fuming after accusing Ticketmaster of not properly notifying them that ‘lead booker’ details could not be changed.

Ticketmaster eventually u-turned on this after countless fans raged how they had been bought tickets as presents or by parents who would not be attending.

The US lawsuit means Swifties are hoping they will finally be able to get their hands on tour tickets, if a break-up of the company results in a more varied ticketing landscape.

Parent company Live Nation owns 250 venues in the US and is responsible for managing around 60 percent of concert promotions at venues worldwide, as well as 80 percent of ticket sales in North America, the lawsuit claims.

US Attorney General Merrick Garland has called for the company to be broken up: ‘Live Nation controls the live entertainment industry in the United States because it is breaking the law,’ he told a press conference.

The Justice Department said Live Nation also threatened to retaliate against one firm if it did not stop a subsidiary from competing for artist promotion contracts.

‘We allege that Live Nation relies on unlawful, anticompetitive conduct to exercise its monopolistic control over the live events industry in the United States at the cost of fans, artists, smaller promoters, and venue operators,’ Mr Garland said in a statement.

Live Nation said the lawsuit was ‘absurd’ and ignores the main factors which have pushed up ticket prices in recent years.

‘Some call this ‘Anti-Monopoly’, but in reality it is just anti-business,’ a spokesperson said.

We will defend against these baseless allegations, use this opportunity to shed light on the industry, and continue to push for reforms that truly protect consumers and artists.’

John Breyault of the National Consumers League told the BBC that the lawsuit was long overdue, after Ticketmaster merged with Live Nation in 2010.

‘Anybody who tried to go buy tickets to go see Taylor Swift can tell you that the experience is pretty terrible,’ he said.

‘Consumers have nowhere else to go so there’s no downside for the company. I think that will change if this lawsuit is successful.’

He added this would mean more choice of ticketing services in the US, with this expected to filter through to the UK too.

Music fans reacted excitedly online to the news, with one X user writing: ‘Ticketmaster getting sued by the US govnment? I might actually go back to concerts again.’

Others shared hilarious memes and gifs showing their reaction to the news.

In 2022, Ticketmaster came under fire after botched sales of Eras tour tickets saw multiple sales cancelled and thousands of complaints from fans, some of whom said they were stuck in online queues for up to eight hours.

Demand for tickets was so high the general release was eventually cancelled without warning.

At the time Swift said it was ‘excruciating’ to ‘just watch mistakes happen with no recourse’.

In the end some 2.4 million of her fans were able to get tickets, but she said it ‘really p***** me off that a lot of them feel like they went through several bear attacks to get them.’

In the UK, many fans were also left furious after what they dubbed a ‘sneaky’ rule change which saw the site update its terms and conditions, meaning the person who purchased the tickets has to be present at the venue to get in.

Although a measure aimed at discouraging ticket touts from buying large amounts of tickets and selling them on for higher prices, many fans were caught out by the move and said they had not been given proper warnings.

Ticketmaster eventually said that the rule change would not apply to Taylor Swift tickets.

The ticket giant has also been criticised in the UK for hefty extra fees, which can see customers pay as much as £10 more than the face-value price.

A snapshot study by Which? in March looked at the fees for events on some of the country’s biggest ticketing sites – AXS, Dice, Eventim, See Tickets and Ticketmaster.

An Anne-Marie show at Cardiff’s Utilita Arena last November, showed a face value for tickets of £45 with Eventim and Ticketmaster. But a range of extra fees bumped up the final price to more than £55.

It was a similar story when Which? analysed ticket prices for a Busted concert this August at Dreamland in Margate, Kent. The tickets had a face value price of £49.50, and were sold on See Tickets, Eventim, AXS and DICE.

But on See Tickets, there was an additional booking fee of £7.55 for a single ticket, £1.50 e-ticket/fulfilment fee, and £1 order processing fee, pushing up the price to a total of £59.55.

Which? said that DICE had the clearest pricing policy. Its single extra fee of £6.05 was added to the face value price on the first page customers encountered.

It added the buying process is made worse by the use of countdown timers which pressurise customers to race through the checkout.