Music

Ticketmaster cancels general sale of Taylor Swift tickets

“The staggering number of bot attacks as well as fans who didn’t have invite codes drove unprecedented traffic on our site, resulting in 3.5 billion total system requests – 4x our previous peak."

Ticketmaster canceled its public sale of tickets to Taylor Swift’s latest tour Thursday. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Ticketmaster canceled its public sale of tickets to Taylor Swift’s latest tour Thursday due to historically high demand and low inventory. 

This follows the website’s chaotic series of ticket presales for the tour, which caused “unprecedented” website traffic, hours-long delays, and outages. The public sale, scheduled for Friday, was for any tickets left after the presales. On Thursday afternoon, the company canceled the general sale entirely. 

“Due to extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand, tomorrow’s public on-sale for Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour has been cancelled,” the company tweeted.

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Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, scheduled for 52 dates across North America (3 of which are at Gillette Stadium), began presales on Tuesday. The “Verified Fan’ presale, designed to weed out scalpers and resellers, was met with “historic” demand. Due to pervasive website issues, Ticketmaster rescheduled a second presale intended for Capital One cardholders to Wednesday. 

Ticketmaster said in a Thursday blog post that 3.5 million people registered for the Verified Fan program, and around 1.5 million were selected to buy a ticket for the tour. However, traffic to the website was over 2,000 times what the website was expecting.

“The staggering number of bot attacks as well as fans who didn’t have invite codes drove unprecedented traffic on our site, resulting in 3.5 billion total system requests – 4x our previous peak,” the site wrote.

For fans who were able to get their hands on tickets, platinum pricing and high service fees made the costs even steeper.

Greg Maffei, chairman of Ticketmaster partner Live Nation, told CNBC that the fiasco was a result of Swift’s fame.

“Reality is it’s a function of the massive demand that Taylor Swift has,” he said. “The site was supposed to be opened up for 1.5 million verified Taylor Swift Fans. We had 14 million people hit the site – including bots, another story, which are not supposed to be there. And despite all the challenges and the breakdowns, we did sell over 2 million tickets that day. We could have filled 900 stadiums.”

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Many of the tickets are already in the hands of resellers. On Stubhub, tickets for Swift’s Foxborough shows are going for as much as $5,000 each.

Some fans have criticized Taylor Swift and her team for not taking action against Ticketmaster and Live Nation, which have dominated the entertainment event industry since their merger in 2010.

“It’s no secret that Live Nation-Ticketmaster is an unchecked monopoly,” Rhode Island congressman David Cicilline tweeted Tuesday. The Democrat said he is joining several other lawmakers to call on the Department of Justice “to investigate Live Nation’s efforts to jack up prices and strangle competition.”

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