By: Hannah Werner
Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour is widely known as the tour of the summer. But long before concertgoers were screaming the pop star’s biggest hits, they were fighting ‘The Great War’ to get tickets for the popular event. Fans (including the author of this post) waited hours for the chance to buy tickets, many to no avail. Some of Swift’s followers have taken matters into their own hands and filed a suit against the ticketing giant Ticketmaster due to its handling of the selling event.
Ticketmaster decided to use a ‘Verified Fans’ ticketing systems to sell tickets to the Eras Tour. This system was designed to prevent scalpers from getting their hands (or computer mouses) on tickets. However, more than one million codes were given to verified fans and codes were not required to enter the Ticketmaster Eras Tour website at the time of the sale, only to actually purchase the tickets. This led to long waitlists for all hoping to secure tickets, even those with presale codes. Fans have gone on the offensive against Ticketmaster with a lawsuit alleging the company has a monopoly over entertainment tickets. According to POLITICO, the Department of Justice could jump in on the train and file an antitrust lawsuit against the promoter. POLITICO states that the DOJ investigation questions “contracts for artist tours” and “prohibitions on reselling tickets and exclusive deals with venues to only use Ticketmaster.” Josh Sisco, Ticketmaster could face new legal threat this fall, sources say, POLITICO (July 28, 2023), https://www.politico.com/news/2023/07/28/feds-home-in-on-ticketmaster-antitrust-case-00108771.
While the potential lawsuit from the DOJ and the lawsuit stemming from the Eras Tour differ in substance, combined they could certainly be enough to tear down the concert promoter. Fans have commenced their attack on Ticketmaster and its chaotic practices, and it is now bleeding into other artists. County music’s Zach Bryan released an album in late 2022 titled ‘All My Homies Hate Ticketmaster’, though tickets for his newest tour were sold on the promoter in question. Olivia Rodrigo recently released her concert tickets on Ticketmaster, and news broke that high demand for her tour could once again shut down the selling website, just as it did with Swift’s Eras Tour.
Although Ticketmaster isn’t the only option for buying concert tickets, exclusivity contracts with event venues may encourage the DOJs claims of a violation of antitrust laws. While not directly related, there is a correlation between a potential lawsuit from the Department of Justice and a lawsuit from Taylor Swift fans. Some Swifties state that because Ticketmaster holds a monopoly on the entertainment and concert sector, it does not need to create a satisfying experience for users. If the Department of Justice brings a lawsuit against Ticketmaster, it is expected this fall or winter. With ticketing and event systems changing what seems daily, live music fans will certainly be anxiously awaiting any movement from the DOJ against Ticketmaster.
About the Author:
In May of 2020, Hannah graduated with a B.A. in Public Relations and a B.A. in Psychology from Auburn University. After working at Ankin Law Office for almost a year, Hannah discovered an interest in law and joined the Chicago-Kent community. Hannah is currently a 2L representative for the Society of Women in Law, as well as a member of various organizations matching her passions, such as the First-Generation Law Student Association and the Chicago Kent Animal Legal Defense Fund. Following graduation, Hannah looks forward to a career in estate planning, real estate, or business law.