Ticketmaster explains Taylor Swift system crash

More than two million people attempted to purchase tickets

Ticketmaster has issued a lengthy statement on why its system crashed during the presale for Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour earlier this week. The Live Nation-owned company has apologized for the errors stating there’s always room for improvement.

“The biggest venues and artists turn to us because we have the leading ticketing technology in the world – that doesn’t mean it’s perfect, and clearly for Taylor’s on sale it wasn’t. But we’re always working to improve the ticket buying experience. Especially for high demand on sales, which continue to test new limits,” they write.

“Even when a high demand on sale goes flawlessly from a tech perspective, many fans are left empty handed. For example: based on the volume of traffic to our site, Taylor would need to perform over 900 stadium shows (almost 20x the number of shows she is doing)…that’s a stadium show every single night for the next 2.5 years.

“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 says more than two million tickets were sold on November 15th, marking the most ever sold for an artist in a single day.

“By requiring registrations, Verified Fan is designed to help manage high demand shows – identifying real humans and weeding out bots. Keeping bots out of queues and avoiding overcrowding helps to make waits shorter and on sales smoother. That’s why Taylor’s touring team AEG and The Messina Touring Group chose to use Verified Fan for her on sales,” the company says.

“Based on fan interest at registration we knew this would be big. Over 3.5 million people pre-registered for Taylor’s Verified Fan, which is the largest registration in history. The huge demand for Taylor’s tour informed the artist team’s decision to add additional dates – doubling the tour and number of tickets available so more fans could make it to shows.

“Historically, around 40% of invited fans actually show up and buy tickets, and most purchase an average of three tickets. So working with the artist team, around 1.5 million people were invited to participate in the on sale for all 52 show dates, including the 47 sold by Ticketmaster.

“The remaining two million Verified Fans were put on the waiting list.”

Ticketmaster explains that a combination of Verified Fans and bots took a huge toll on its system. However, they confirm that every ticket was sold to a buyer with a Verified Fan code.

“Historically, working with Verified Fan invite codes has worked as we’ve been able to manage the volume coming into the site to shop for tickets. However, this time 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 company says.

“Never before has a Verified Fan on sale sparked so much attention – or uninvited volume. This disrupted the predictability and reliability that is the hallmark of our Verified Fan platform. It usually takes us about an hour to sell through a stadium show, but we slowed down some sales and pushed back others to stabilize the systems. The trade off was longer wait times in queue for some fans.

“Overall, we estimate about 15% of interactions across the site experienced issues, and that’s 15% too many, including passcode validation errors that caused fans to lose tickets they had carted.”

The company also says due to Verified Fans, there’s a small number of tickets available on the resale market.

“Ninety percent fewer tickets are currently posted for resale on secondary markets than a typical on sale, which is exactly why the artist team wanted to use Verified Fan to sell their tickets,” they add. “Ticketmaster is not currently reselling any Taylor tickets.”

In a tweet Thursday afternoon (Nov 17th), Ticketmaster announced that the public on sale for The Eras Tour has been canceled.

“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,” they share.

Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti says he’s launching an investigation into the company’s practices after the Taylor Swift ticketing debacle.

“We received a number of complaints, and there’s been significant press coverage that the ticket sale process did not go smoothly. There are no allegations, at this time, about any misconduct. But as the attorney general, it’s my job to ensure that the consumer protection laws and antitrust laws in Tennessee are being honored,” Skrmetti says.

The two companies have been under fire since they merged in 2010. In July, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. of New Jersey launched an investigation for its dynamic pricing strategy and junk fees. In September, Pascrell sent a letter to Live Nation President and CEO Michael Rapino demanding the company be “more transparent and fair with its pricing strategies after Ticketmaster confirmed their dynamic pricing is based on supply and demand.”

The White House recently announced it’s moving closer to federally mandating the end of “junk fees” or “convenience fees” not being disclosed before the start of purchase. They’re pursuing an all-inclusive ticketing model across the board.

Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites. Email: info@themusicuniverse.com

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