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Taylor Swift tour chaos spurs calls to probe ticketing industry

When Taylor Swift announced her first tour in five years, Jacob Landry couldn’t wait to jump in line to see his favorite artist take the stage.

But after diligently registering for and receiving a presale code, the 20-year-old jazzed for his first concert ever was confronted with a massive queue, site glitches and soaring costs.

Landry’s experience was far from unique: thousands of social media users reported similar experiences, including 19-year-old Kathryn Berry, who told AFP the process that ultimately left her with nosebleed seats in Nashville turned into a “thirteen-hour ordeal.”

Berry said she’s “happy I got tickets, but definitely holding a grudge against Ticketmaster for a while.”

For many music fans that grudge is longstanding.

The American ticketing industry, which the company Ticketmaster overwhelmingly dominates, has for years left concertgoers frustrated by hidden fees, soaring costs, rampant scalpers and limited tickets due to presales.

Swifties flooding ticketing sites linked to by Ticketmaster described crashes, outages, and other snafus, and many who were granted presale codes ultimately couldn’t nab tickets.

Cody Rhodes said his cousin received a code granting access to buy seats for Swift’s May show in Philadelphia, but after waiting five hours they were booted out of the queue. 

By the time they got back through the line, there were no tickets left.

“I was FLOORED,” the 23-year-old told AFP. “It was kind of funny at first like wow haha Taylor is so popular everyone wants to see her! Queen!”

“But every passing hour I was realizing the seriousness of it.”

Rhodes said he’ll try again when the general sale opens on Friday, saying his loose budget is $400 per ticket.

“That is a lot of money for us really, but we are huge fans and have waited so long,” Rhodes said, but added he’s already seeing resale tickets in the $2,000 to $9,000 range for the kinds of seats they were hoping for.

“Ticketmaster is a money-hungry service with little to no regard to real fans. I think they will allow price gauging since it allows them to take advantage of situations like this,” he said.

– ‘Unchecked monopoly’ –

Ticketmaster did not immediately respond to an AFP interview request, but in a statement Tuesday the company said waiting fans should “please hang tight,” citing “historically unprecedented demand” from millions.

The company also delayed one of the presales a full day.

The havoc spurred comment from a number of lawmakers, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Richard Blumenthal, who urged an investigation into the “state of competition in the ticketing industry.”

In 2010, Ticketmaster and the event promotion company behemoth Live Nation merged, which Congressman David Cicilline on Tuesday dubbed “an unchecked monopoly.”

He and other legislators in 2021 called for a Justice Department probe into “Live Nation’s efforts to jack up prices and strangle competition.”

Swift fans have an enormous…

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