Tennessee’s AG Investigating Ticketmaster After Taylor Swift Presale Fiasco

by Taylor Cunningham
(Photo by John Shearer/TAS18/Getty Images for TAS)

Tennessee’s Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti is investigating both Ticketmaster and Live Nation after the Taylor Swift Era’s Tour presale turned into a fiasco.

Tens of thousands of fans registered for presale codes on Ticketmaster. On Tues (Nov 15), those codes were emailed. When people attempted to use them, they spent hours in online waiting rooms or dealt with a site that wouldn’t load.

Skrmetti said on Wed that fans called into his office with “a number of complaints.” And now he’d like a better understanding of what went wrong.

“There are no allegations at this time about any misconduct,” he said. “But as the Attorney General, it’s my job to ensure that the consumer protection laws and antitrust laws in Tennessee are being honored.”

Ticketmaster issued a statement during the presale saying that it was dealing with “historically unprecedented demand.” And it asked users for “patience as we continue managing this huge demand.”

People lashed back at the statement claiming that the company knew how many presale codes it sent out. So it should have been more prepared.

Skrmetti had similar feelings and said that “as an industry player, you would think Ticketmaster would be prepared.”

“Because they have a dominant position, they may have thought they didn’t need to worry about that.” He added that the situation could “be an indicator” that Ticketmaster doesn’t have enough competition.

Among the complaints the office received were also several pertaining to the customer service process. Some people claimed that they contacted the company about their problems. And they were told that it would take up to five days before they get a response.

Taylor Swift Ticketmaster Drama Leading to Investigation into Antitrust Violations

The office announced that there will be a full investigation into antitrust violations because Ticketmaster and Live Nation collectively hold “70% of the concert venue ticket sales.”

“Any time you have that kind of concentration of market share, there’s the risk that the lack of competition will not just drive up prices for consumers; it will also reduce the quality of the product,” he noted.  

“Potentially, this is a situation where the quality of the product is reduced, where the infrastructure provided for ticket sales doesn’t rise to the level that the consumers deserve,” Skrmetti said. “Because we’re not talking about a company that needs to compete as much to get the consumers’ dollars.”

The AG is also looking into the resale market and how that is directly benefiting Ticketmaster. As it stands, the company allows scalpers to purchase tickets and then “facilitates” that person’s resale transactions. By doing that, the company stands to profit off of tickets twice.

“I’m not saying it happened,” he noted. “But we’re going to make absolutely sure it didn’t.”