Taylor Swift Presale Crashes Ticketmaster Website, Forces Delays

Rob Grabowski / Invision / AP
Taylor Swift plays B96 Jingle Bash at Allstate Arena Dec 7, 2017, in Rosemont, Illinois. Photo by Rob Grabowski / Invision / AP

“Unprecedented” demand for Taylor Swift’s massive “The Eras Tour” crashed Ticketmaster’s website Tuesday, reigniting a debate about the ticket giant’s hold on the industry.

Verified Fan presale began at 10 a.m. local time for the 52-show stadium run across the United States. Those with the codes issued by Ticketmaster often faced a website that crashed at the critical moment or lost their spot in the queue.

Within hours, Ticketmaster announced it was delaying onsale for the Pacific time dates — those in Inglewood, Las Vegas Santa Clara and Seattle — were being delayed until 3 p.m. Pacific. The company also moved the presale for Capital One cardholders to Wednesday at 2 p.m. local.

“Millions of fans registered for Taylor Swift’s Eras Verified Fan Presale, with demand more than twice the number of tickets available – then on top of that millions more showed up to try to buy,” a spokesperson for Ticketmaster said, “This caused some delays for fans, which we know is frustrating and we worked as quickly as possible to adjust some onsale times to manage the volume, and queues are now flowing. We thank everyone for their patience as we continue to work through the biggest onsale in history.”

The website downdetector.com shows huge spikes in reported outages for Ticketmaster’s website and app in predictable intervals coinciding with onsale times for the United States’ time zones.

Ticketmaster issued a statement shortly after 10 a.m. Pacific citing “historically unprecedented demand” for the problems, though assuring customers that “hundreds of thousands” of tickets had indeed been sold. In 2015, Ticketmaster crashed during an onsale for Adele. Last year, the company delayed the onsale for Adele’s tour due to an Amazon Web Services outage that crippled many e-commerce sites.

Crashes of Ticketmaster’s site during onsales for in-demand tours are not unusual. Bad Bunny fans faced similar issues as Swifties during the presale for his “El Ultimo Tour del Mundo” trek in April 2021.

Rep. Bill Pascrell, a New Jersey Democrat, introduced the Better Oversight of Secondary Sales and Accountability in Concert Ticketing legislation in 2009 after Ticketmaster redirected would-be Bruce Springsteen ticket buyers to its secondary-market site TicketsNow. Pascrell and fellow Garden State lawmakers have regularly re-introduced the legislation, which is popularly known as the BOSS ACT, whenever Springsteen releases a new album or announces a tour.

Several members of the House of Representatives responded to the Swift onsale woes by taking to Twitter to criticize the 2009 Live Nation / Ticketmaster merger.

Congressman David Cicilline of Rhode Island tweeted, “[email protected]’s excessive wait times and fees are completely unacceptable, as seen with today’s @taylorswift13 tickets, and are a symptom of a larger problem. It’s no secret that Live Nation-Ticketmaster is an unchecked monopoly.”

He added, “The merger of these companies should never have been allowed in the first place, which is why I have joined @FrankPallone, @RepJerryNadler, and @BillPascrell
to call on the DOJ to investigate Live Nation’s efforts to jack up prices and strangle competition.”

The tweet included an image of a letter dated April 19, 2021, that was addressed to Attorney General Merrick Garland and Acting Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Kelly Slaughter in support of “strong antitrust enforcement by the Biden Administration, including the live event ticket sales marketplace.”

It should be noted that Swift’s “The Eras Tour” is not promoted by Live Nation. Rather, the trek is produced in-house by Taylor Swift Touring and promoted by The Messina Touring Group, which is a partner with AEG Presents.

Swift’s last trek, 2018’s “Reputation” world tour, took in 53 dates and grossed $345.1 million, ranking No. 2 on Pollstar‘s Year End Top 100 Worldwide Tours chart.