Ticketmaster has apologized to Taylor Swift and her fans for the sales disaster
Ticket Master Officially apologized Taylor Swift And millions of his fans were left frustrated and angry this week over the ticketing situation. The company’s apology came in a statement issued Friday night, about half a day after Swift expressed her anger over the fragility in a Festivity post, describing herself as “upset” about a “painful” situation and feeling responsible for it. Headline generation issues at Ticketmaster’s feet.
In its statement late Friday, the company wrote: “We try to make it as easy as possible for fans to purchase tickets, but this has not been the case for many people trying to purchase tickets for Taylor Swift ‘The Eras’ tour. First, we want to apologize to Taylor and all his fans – especially those who had a terrible experience buying tickets.”
Much of the lengthy statement attached to a tweet sent by Ticketmaster at 11pm on Friday was released by the company and then deleted on Thursday – but now with a newly tagged apology at the start. The revised “explanation” version earlier in the day did not include any apologetic language, which angered many fans before it was removed from Ticketmaster’s website.
Even still, the statement focused on statistics indicating that ticket demand was unexpected, and characterized sales as mostly a success story and a record-breaker, noting that, while there were problems, “2 million tickets were sold on Ticketmaster … November 15 – Highest number of tickets sold for an artiste in one day.”
Ticketmaster had to change its previously defensive stance to include the inevitable apology after Swift expressed her displeasure with the company on Friday morning. In a statement on her Instagram Stories, Swift wrote, “I brought home many elements of my career. I do this specifically to improve the quality of my fans’ experience with my team who care about my fans as much as I do. It’s really hard for me to trust an outside entity with this relationship and loyalty, and it’s exciting for me to see mistakes happen without any recourse.”
Although Swift didn’t mention Ticketmaster by name in her statement, she did mention a “them” that left no doubt who she was talking about. “There are many reasons why people have had such a difficult time getting tickets and I am trying to figure out how to improve this situation moving forward,” he wrote. “I’m not going to make excuses for anybody because we asked them multiple times, if they can handle this kind of demand and we were assured that they can. It’s really amazing that 2.4 million people got tickets, but it really bothers me that so many of them feel like they went through several bear attacks to get them.”
In a revised statement issued Friday night, Ticketmaster still emphasized the positives, arguing that the Verified Fan program, which adds extra steps to queuing for tickets, has been particularly successful in keeping tickets from going to scalpers. “Less than 5% of tickets for travel are sold or posted for resale on the secondary market,” the company noted. “On-sales that don’t use verified fans typically end up with 20-30% of inventory in the secondary market.”
Ticketmaster’s statement, titled “Taylor Swift’s Era Tour Onsale Explained,” can be read in full here. (An earlier version can still be found in a Music Business Worldwide story without an apology to Swift here.)
Reiterating its earlier language, Ticketmaster suggested that its ticket rollout is not “perfect,” without going too far on offense. “The biggest venues and artists turn to us because we have world-leading ticketing technology — that doesn’t mean it’s perfect, and it certainly wasn’t for Taylor Swift’s ‘The Eras Tour’ on-sale. However, we are always working to improve the ticket buying experience. Particularly high demand is for on-sale, which continues to test new limits. We are working to further improve our technology for the new bar set to meet the demands of Taylor Swift ‘The Eras’ tour. Once we get past that, if there are any next steps, updates will be shared accordingly.”
The company announced earlier in the week that general-public sales for Swift’s tour were being canceled entirely, because so little inventory remained after verified fans and Capital One cardholders pre-sales sold out the vast majority of tickets available for the 52 US. The stadium shows singer is scheduled for next summer.
Ticketmaster also claimed that it was impossible to meet the demand for Swift tickets. “Based on the amount of traffic to our site, Taylor would need to do over 900 stadium shows (about 20 times the number of shows she’s been doing),” the company wrote in its statement. “It’s a stadium show every night for the next 2.5 years.” The company couldn’t measure exactly which site’s traffic it would need to sell out 1,000 consecutive stadium shows to meet US demand.
Friday night was unusually busy for both Ticketmaster and Live Nation On the PR front. The two related companies (Live Nation among Ticketmaster’s parents) were issuing near-simultaneous statements this week to defend themselves amid the heated controversy, although Ticketmaster was in a position to belatedly apologize for the Swift mess.
Live Nation’s wholly unflattering statement was in response to reports late in the evening that the Justice Department was looking into antitrust matters with the companies, And that came after Live Nation shares fell 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 untoward about the company’s massive dominance, claiming, “Ticketmaster has a significant share of the primary ticketing services market because of the huge gap between. The Ticketmaster system is quality and the next best primary ticketing system. Yet the market is increasingly competitive, with rivals making aggressive offers at the venue. That Ticketmaster continues to lead in such an environment is a testament to the platform and those who operate it, not to any competing business practices. … We innovate and invest in our technology more than any other ticketing company, and we will continue to do so.”
While there have been reports that Ticketmaster has aggressively moved into hosting resale tickets on its own site, Live Nation writes, “Secondary ticketing is highly competitive, with Ticketmaster competing with StubHub, SeatGeek, Vivid and many others. No serious argument can be made that Ticketmaster has a position in the secondary ticketing market that supports an antitrust claim.
Live Nation unveiled a perhaps surprising deal with an idea often promoted by disgruntled fans, that the many additional fees tagged on each ticket sale should be matched to the unit price that consumers see. Live Nation “strongly advocates for maximum value so that fans are not surprised by the true price of tickets,” the statement said.
It remains to be seen whether Live Nation’s stocks will be bullish next week or subject to — as Taylor Swift might say — “withstanding the onslaught.”
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