Descending upon Los Angeles on Monday, more than two dozen Taylor Swift megafans (aka Swifties) had their first day in court in the lawsuit filed against Ticketmaster for the pop star’s “Eras” tour presale fiasco, which saw long wait times and prices soar to thousands of dollars.
To mark the occasion, plaintiffs held a rally to coincide with the hearing at the U.S. Courthouse in downtown L.A. (and a dance party the night before).
“It’s not a huge hearing, but it’s our first hearing and what we’re trying to do is make a strong show of force,” Jennifer Kinder, the plaintiffs’ lawyer, and self-proclaimed Swiftie, tells LAMag. “We want to have a distinct and unique presence in the courtroom on Monday…We are individual, we are unique…we will be protesting at every hearing and our voices are going to be loud and strong.”
The 26 plaintiffs from across the United States filed the suit against Ticketmaster and its parent company Live Nation in late 2022 for alleged fraud, price-fixing, and antitrust violations.
Although the focus of this lawsuit, the botching of the “Eras” presale isn’t an isolated event—fans have recently been raising hell over ticket prices and fees for concerts from Beyonce, Drake, Bruce Springsteen, and The Cure. But it was the botched “Eras” sale that gained the attention of Congress, which held a hearing that saw some U.S. reps refer to the company as a monopoly.
“Ticketmaster’s excessive wait times and fees are completely unacceptable, as seen with today’s @taylorswift13 tickets, and are a symptom of a larger problem,” Congressman David Cicilline tweeted. “It’s no secret that Live Nation-Ticketmaster is an unchecked monopoly.”
.@Ticketmaster'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.
— Congressman David N. Cicilline (@RepCicilline) November 15, 2022
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also chimed in: “Daily reminder that Ticketmaster is a monopoly, it’s [sic] merger with LiveNation should never have been approved, and they need to be reigned in,” she tweeted. “Break them up.”
Daily reminder that Ticketmaster is a monopoly, it’s merger with LiveNation should never have been approved, and they need to be reigned in.
Break them up.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 15, 2022
Jenn Landry, another plaintiff also calling for a break-up, concurring with Kinder that the lawsuit goes beyond the “Eras” tour to include all events, artists and fans. “The bottom line is we just don’t want this to continue to happen, they need to be dismantled,” she said. “We’re trying to make a difference for all fans.”
According to court documents, plaintiffs claim that the company allegedly mismanaged the release of the tickets and are seeking $2,500 for each violation of Business and Professions Code section 17200.
Along with long wait times, fans claimed that they never received codes, tickets couldn’t be snagged fast enough when they became available, and they ended up paying far higher prices than expected, as New York magazine reports. One fan was reportedly charged $14,000 for 40 failed attempts to make a purchase.
Plaintiff Joe Akmakjian told LAMag that he waited nine hours on the first day without success. “The next day [during the Capital One cardholder presale], I waited about five hours;” he was finally able to purchase three tickets.
“We want answers as to how could this have been prevented,” Akmakjian said. “Why were those steps not taken? Did it benefit Ticketmaster?”
Facing record demand, Ticketmaster said that nearly 3.5 million pre–registrations occurred for their “Verified Fan” event, during which—the site said in a press release—3.5 billion requests were made. They cited a “staggering number of bot attacks.” The high demand supposedly also broke parts of the website.
Ticketmaster said it is “working to shore up our tech for the new bar that has been set by demand” and that they “apologize to Taylor and all of her fans—especially those who had a terrible experience trying to purchase tickets.”
A rep for Ticketmaster or Live Nation could not be immediately reached by LAMag for comment on Monday.
Swift released a statement condemning the mayhem and defended her fans—without naming the giant.
🚨| @taylorswift13 on “The Eras Tour” via IG stories pic.twitter.com/ZVoN9NJg8T
— The Swift Society (@TheSwiftSociety) November 18, 2022
“It goes without saying that I’m extremely protective of my fans,” she said. “It’s really difficult for me to trust an outside entity with these relationships and loyalties, and excruciating for me to just watch mistakes happen with no recourse…It’s truly amazing that 2.4 million people got tickets, but it really pisses me off that a lot of them feel like they went through several bear attacks to get them.”
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