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Taylor Swift Ticketmaster mayhem draws attention to DOJ investigation

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On Friday, Taylor Swift weighed in on the chaotic rollout of her “Eras Tour” concerts this week for the first time, expressing frustration with Ticketmaster’s handling of ticket sales and saying the experience for fans was like “passing by several bear attacks”.

Swift’s comments come at a precarious time for Ticketmaster, as the Department of Justice has launched an investigation into the company. The investigation was confirmed by a person familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to discuss the situation. The person said the Justice Department investigation predated the Swift concert drama and its parameters were not immediately clear.

The Justice Department declined to comment.

“It goes without saying that I am extremely protective of my fans,” the singer wrote in a statement posted on Instagram. “It’s really hard for me to trust an outside entity with those connections and loyalties, and excruciating for me to just watch mistakes happen without recourse.”

On Thursday, after a few days of glitches and hours of waiting for concert tickets on Ticketmaster’s website, the company announced it would halt sales on Friday due to “extraordinarily high demands on the ticketing systems and… ‘a stock of tickets remaining insufficient to meet this’. request.” In a since-deleted blog post, Ticketmaster said more than 2 million tickets were purchased for the tour on Tuesday, setting a record for a single-day performer.

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Ticketmaster attributed the malfunctions to a combination of “bot attacks as well as fans who didn’t have invite codes”, bringing the number of system requests on its website to 3.5 billion, which it said he was four times the previous peak. The company added that only 15% of “customer interactions on the site encountered problems”, but that was still “too many”.

“There are a multitude of reasons why people have had such a hard time getting tickets and I’m trying to understand how this situation can be improved in the future,” Swift wrote in her statement. “I’m not going to excuse anyone because we’ve asked them many times if they can handle this kind of request and we’ve been assured they can.”

Ticketmaster’s parent company, Live Nation Entertainment, did not respond to a request for comment.

The “Eras Tour” fiasco has fueled longstanding complaints about the conduct of Live Nation Entertainment, which has been accused of operating a monopoly in online ticket sales. In 2010, the Justice Department allowed Live Nation, an event promoter and venue operator, to merge with Ticketmaster, on the condition of agreeing to a code of conduct intended to address antitrust concerns. In 2019, the Justice Department alleged that Live Nation Entertainment violated the terms of the agreement, which was set to expire in 2020; after investigation, a new agreement was extended until 2025.

The New York Times first reported that members of the Justice Department’s antitrust division launched an “extensive” investigation into Live Nation Entertainment earlier this year.

The expectation was high for Swift’s return to the stadiums; her last concert tour, promoting the “Reputation” album, was in 2018. Swift has since released four records: 2019’s “Lover”; 2020s “Folklore” and “Evermore”; and last month’s “Midnights,” the success of which made her the first artist to land the top 10 spots on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

In her statement on Friday, Swift noted that she had “brought so many elements of my career internally” as a way “to improve the quality of my fan experience by doing it myself with my team. who cares about my fans as much as I do.”

“To those who didn’t get tickets, all I can say is my hope is to give us more opportunities to come together and sing these songs,” she wrote. “Thank you for wanting to be there. You have no idea what that means.

Julian Mark contributed to this report.