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Taylor Swift fans Dressing up for revenge Or at least statutory damages. More than two dozen disillusioned Swifties have filed a class action lawsuit accusing Ticketmaster and its parent company, Live Nation, of fraud, misrepresentation and antitrust violations over the failed Eras Tour ticket sales.
Attorneys for the 26 plaintiffs, who live in 13 states across the United States, filed The complaint in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Friday. It claims that the ticketing platform has a monopoly on the primary and secondary markets and accuses it of engaging in fraudulent practices and various antitrust violations, including price discrimination and price fixing.
“Defendant’s anti-competitive conduct has significantly harmed and will continue to cause significant harm to Taylor Swift fans, as well as competition in the ticket sales tag and secondary ticket services market,” the report reads.
She is seeking $2,500 for each violation of the state of California Unfair competition law which prohibits false advertising and illegal business practices.
Ticketmaster and Live Nation Entertainment did not respond to NPR’s request for comment.
Jennifer Kinder, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys, told NPR by email that nearly 400 people have expressed interest in joining the case since the complaint was first filed and will be added as plaintiffs, likely before the end of the week. You expect interest to continue to rise.
“Until transparency and integrity in ticket-buying for live entertainment are won, the Great War continues,” she wrote. indicates a song From Swift’s latest album, midnight.
Kinder sent an updated complaint to NPR on Monday that lists the names of 50 plaintiffs (nearly double the original number).
Quick Activation of Swift Disaster
When sales kicked off in mid-November, dozens of loyal fans pushed through hours or even days of long waits, website crashes and fluctuating prices only to end up without tickets. They — and many Democratic lawmakers — blame these issues on Ticketmaster not preparing well for the huge demand for Swift’s upcoming tour, which will be her first since 2018.
First, many of the 3.5 million “verified fans” were sent to waiting lists, while those who received the coveted codes logged on to a website that soon collapsed under Ticketmaster called “Unprecedented traffic” from bot attacks and fanless tokens.
After the second day of advance ticket sales—for Capital One cardholders—I went similarly, Ticketmaster Canceled sales to the general public a day before the opening, noting the “extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and the insufficient stock of tickets remaining to meet that demand”.
Swift eventually issued a statement in which, without naming Ticketmaster, she described the situation as “painful” and said her team had been reassured several times that they “can handle this type of request”.
At Ticketmaster I apologize to Swift and her fans. in statement In explaining what happened, it said it had sold 2.4 million tickets (including 2 million in one day), but acknowledged issues with the process and said it was “working on our technology support for the new bar-on-demand” on Swift tickets.
The concert chaos has also prompted consumer protection investigations by several state attorneys general and calls from leading Democratic lawmakers to break up the company. Critics say it has acted like Monopoly, especially in the years since controversial 2010 merger From Ticketmaster and event promoter Live Nation.
The lawsuit by and for live music lovers
After Kinder, a Dallas-based attorney, tried unsuccessfully for days to get tickets for herself and her pre-teen daughter, she turned to social media and saw thousands of angry fans expressing similar frustrations.
She and a colleague Googled a form for people to submit details about their own experiences and gauge interest in a potential class-action lawsuit, she said Washington Post And the d magazine (Their legal team now also includes a California attorney.)
Julie Parvus, Lead Plaintiff, said the Mail that she had taken the day off work to buy tickets, and had tried to check in about 41 times—so many times, in fact, that a customer service agent I spoke with told her the website had identified her as a bot.
Parvus was unable to get any of the tickets into her cart, even though her card was charged thousands of dollars for all 41 attempts (the charges were later overturned).
“Ticketmaster’s service is not superior or reliable; the massive Taylor Swift pre-show debacle is proof enough of that,” the suit says. “Ticketmaster doesn’t charge high prices to provide better service, they charge higher prices because they have no real competition and they want to take every dollar they can from buyers.”
The plaintiffs are far from the only fans who ended up empty-handed. In the Ticketmaster note an explanation What’s happenedIt has estimated that 15% of interactions across its site have encountered issues. She added that even if there were no technical issues, demand for Swift tickets was simply too high to satisfy everyone.
“For example: based on the amount of traffic to our site, Taylor would need to perform over 900 stadium shows (nearly 20 times the number of shows she performs)… that’s a stadium show every night for the next 2.5 years,” he said. it’s a. “While it’s impossible for everyone to get tickets to these shows, we know we can do more to improve the experience and that’s what we’re focused on.”
Ticketmaster’s practices took center stage
The lawsuit is one of several attempts to hold the ticket giant to account, as Swift’s failure has renewed scrutiny of its dominant market position and the merger that has put it there.
Attorneys General of Tennessee, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Nevada They launched investigations into the situation, while a number of Democratic lawmakers — including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Bill Pasquerel (D-N.J.) — have publicly called for the company to be broken up.
And the US Department of Justice is pursuing a broader antitrust investigation into Ticketmaster’s parent company that predates the Swift snafu, The New York Times It has been reported.
Live Nation Entertainment has defended its practices a permit It posted on its website last month, saying that Ticketmaster abides by the consent decree accompanying the merger, does not set or control ticket prices and only maintains such a large market share “because of the large gap that exists between the quality of Ticketmaster and the next best of the underlying ticketing system.”
“Life Nation takes its responsibilities under antitrust laws seriously and does not engage in behavior that could justify antitrust litigation, let alone orders that would require it to change essential business practices,” it said.
But not everyone is convinced. In the immediate aftermath of the incident, Senator Amy Klobuchar, chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust and Consumer Rights, sent a letter to the CEO of Ticketmaster expressing her longstanding concerns about the lack of competition in the ticketing industry and requests about specific business practices.
She and Sen. Mike Lee (RU.T.) announced later They will hold a hearing – the date of which has not yet been announced – to examine “how consolidation in the live entertainment industry and the ticketing industry harms customers and artists alike.”
Klobuchar said All things considered at NPR Last week, while the Swift incident may have put Ticketmaster in the spotlight, the “vertically integrated colossus” issue is far bigger than any single star tour.
“A lot of these hidden fees, high fees, persist because there’s no incentive for fair prices, premium offerings, and innovation if you’re the only company in town,” she explained.
What could a congressional hearing do that a DOJ investigation couldn’t? Klobuchar said witness testimonies could create a useful record and possibly pave the way for legislation — she said there were bipartisan efforts under way specifically related to the ticket industry but did not elaborate.
This isn’t the first high-profile attempt to challenge Ticketmaster’s dominance – The Pearl Jam Experiment is famous And it failed to do so in the early 1990s, for example. But Klobuchar thinks things could go differently this time around, in part because “a whole bunch of Swift fans is something no one in Congress has dealt with.”
Throughout the history of monopolies, Klobuchar said, federal action tends to only arise when public anger reaches a certain level — and she sees that happening now.
She added, “There is this point of convergence where there is a lot of anger from the public, and it may now be online.” “Before, it was on street corners and in farmers’ halls. But when you get to that point, that’s when something gets done.”
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