Ticketmaster has officially apologized to Taylor Swift and her fans for the ticketing situation that left millions frustrated and angry this week. The company’s apology came in a statement released Friday night, about half a day after Swift expressed her anger about the fiasco in a fiery post, describing herself as “angry” about the “horrible” situation and appearing to lay the blame for the headline-making problems at the feet of Ticketmaster.
In a statement on Friday, the company wrote: “We strive to make ticketing as easy as possible for fans, but this has not been the case for many people trying to purchase tickets for Taylor Swift’s ‘The Eras’ Tour.” First, we want to apologize to Taylor and all her fans – especially those who had a bad experience trying to buy tickets. ”
Most of the lengthy comments linked to a tweet sent by Ticketmaster around 11 pm ET on Friday were similar to one the company had published and deleted on Thursday – but now the apology has just been posted earlier. The previous day’s version of the updated “statement” did not include any apology language, raising the ire of many fans before it was removed from Ticketmaster’s website.
Even now, the report focuses on statistics that show that the demand for tickets was unexpected, and considers the sale as a success story and a record breaker, showing that, while there were problems, “2 million tickets were sold. Ticketmaster … on November 15 – the most tickets sold by an artist in a day just one.”
Ticketmaster will have to change its previously defensive stance to include an apology that was inevitable after Swift expressed her displeasure with the company on Friday morning. In her Instagram Stories account, Swift wrote, “I brought a lot of my work into the house. I did this ENTIRELY to improve the quality of my fans’ experience by doing it myself and with a team that cares about my fans as much as I do. It’s very hard for me to trust an outside agency with this relationship and credibility, and it hurts me to watch mistakes happen without help. “
Although Swift did not name Ticketmaster in her statement, she did refer to “them” leaving no doubt as to who she was referring to. “There are many reasons why people are having difficulty trying to get tickets and I am trying to figure out how this situation can be improved going forward,” he wrote. I am not going to defend anyone because we have asked them, many times, if they can handle this kind of pressure and we have been assured that they can. It’s really amazing that 2.4 million people got the tickets, but it makes me angry that so many of them felt like they had to go through a lot of trouble to get them.”
In a prepared statement released Friday night, Ticketmaster still emphasized the positives, arguing that the Verified Fan program, which adds extra steps to getting into the ticket line, has been particularly successful in keeping tickets from going to scalpers. “Less than 5% of tour tickets are sold or sent for resale on the secondary market,” the company noted. “Markets that don’t use Verified Fan typically see 20-30% of their inventory end up on the secondary market.”
Ticketmaster’s report, titled “Taylor Swift The Eras Tour Onsale Explained,” can be read in its entirety here. (An earlier version of Swift’s non-apology can be seen in the Music Industry Worldwide story here.)
Reiterating its earlier language, Ticketmaster suggested that their ticketing was “not perfect,” without being far from guilty. “The biggest venues and artists turn to us because we have the leading ticketing technology in the world – that doesn’t mean it’s good, and obviously on Taylor Swift’s ‘The Eras Tour’ sales weren’t. But we are always working to improve the ticketing experience. Especially in the high demand for advertising, which continues to test new boundaries. We’re working on developing our technology for a new on-demand bar for Taylor Swift ‘The Eras’ Tour. Once we achieve that, if there are any next steps, updates will be shared accordingly. “
The company announced earlier in the week that the public sale of Swift’s tour has been canceled entirely, as there is little inventory left after pre-sales by Verified Fan and Capital One sold out most of the 52 tickets available in the US. A stadium show for the singer is scheduled for next summer.
Ticketmaster has announced that it is unable to meet the demand for Swift tickets. “Based on the volume of traffic on our site, Taylor will need to do over 900 shows (almost 20x the number of shows she does),” the company wrote in its statement. “This is the arena show every night for the next 2.5 years.” The company didn’t say exactly what kind of traffic it was measuring to reach the conclusion that the Swift would need to sell close to a thousand theaters in a row to meet US demand.
Friday night was unusually busy for both Ticketmaster and Live Nation on the public relations front. The two related companies (Live Nation and Ticketmaster’s parent) almost simultaneously released defensive statements amid heated arguments that reached a critical level this week, although Ticketmaster was in a position to quickly apologize for the Swift mess.
Live Nation’s late-night statement was a response to reports that the Justice Department was looking into antitrust matters against the company, and it came after Live Nation shares fell nearly 8% in Friday trading before closing at $66.21.
In a separate report defending Ticketmaster’s policies and practices, Live Nation wrote that there was nothing wrong with the company’s management, saying, “Ticketmaster has a significant share of the market for premium ticketing services due to the large gap that exists between the quality of Ticketmaster’s system and the next major system.” tickets. The market is growing competitive however, with competitors making aggressive offers in areas. That Ticketmaster continues to be a leader in such an area is a testament to the platform and those who use it, not to any anti-competitive business activities. … We innovate and invest in our technology more than any other ticketing company, and we will continue to do so.”
Although complaints have come in about Ticketmaster’s aggressive efforts to capture ticket sales on its site, Live Nation wrote, “Secondary Ticket is very competitive, with Ticketmaster competing with StubHub, SeatGeek, Vivid and many others.” No serious argument can be made that Ticketmaster has the kind of marketplace for secondary tickets that supports antitrust claims. “
Live Nation has announced a potentially shocking deal with one idea often floated by disgruntled fans, that the many additional fees marked on each ticket ad should be rolled into one price seen by consumers. Live Nation “strongly supports pricing so fans are not surprised by what tickets cost,” it said in a statement.
It remains to be seen whether Live Nation’s stock will move in the next week or continue down — as Taylor Swift would say — “a bear attack.”