Breakdown of Taylor Swift tickets investigated by attorneys general

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The breakdown in Ticketmaster’s sale of Taylor Swift tickets is a mess that some attorneys general can’t seem to shake off.

As fans shared their outrage and grief over the fruitless hours spent searching for seats for Swift’s upcoming concert tour, top legal chiefs in Nevada, Tennessee and Pennsylvania have launched an investigation into the fiasco.

“Trouble, trouble, trouble,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro tweeted in reference to Swift’s 2012 hit “I Knew You Were Trouble,” when he asked the public to file complaints about the use of Ticketmaster at his office.

Shapiro, a Democrat who recently won Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial race, has since thanked people for their “quick response,” while noting that his office had received “a lot of complaints” to investigate.

In Tennessee, Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti said he wants to make sure consumers have a fair chance to buy tickets.

“There are no allegations of any wrongdoing at this time, but as Attorney General, it is my job to make sure Tennessee’s consumer protection and antitrust laws are followed,” Skrmetti told reporters.

In 2008, Tennessee passed a so-called “anti-bot” law that prohibits the use of certain computer programs to buy tickets for concerts and sporting events in large quantities. However, like most states that have issued similar bans, the law is rarely enforced.

Meanwhile, the Nevada attorney general’s office said it was investigating Ticketmaster for “alleged deceptive or unfair business practices.”

The trouble started when registered fans were given codes for a Tuesday pre-sale and tried to get tickets for Swift’s 52-date The Eras tour next year. They soon faced long delays and error messages that Ticketmaster blamed on bots and historically unprecedented demand. The company subsequently canceled Friday’s sale to the general public.

Swift expressed anger and frustration in a lengthy statement, saying she was assured by Ticketmaster that they could handle the demand.

“It’s really hard for me to trust an outside entity with these relationships and loyalties, and unbearable for me to see mistakes happen without recourse,” Swift said.

Ticketmaster said more than 2 million tickets have been sold despite the issues, setting a new one-day record for artists on the platform, and only 15% of potential buyers had issues with the process.

“We would like to apologize to Taylor and all of her fans, especially those who had a terrible experience purchasing tickets,” the company said.

Multiple lawmakers have accused Ticketmaster of abusing its power as the dominant ticket seller to consumers.

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust and Consumer Rights, wrote an open letter to Ticketmaster president and CEO Michael Rapino saying she had been skeptical of his company since its merger with LiveNation in 2011. Her letter included several questions about Ticketmaster’s business practices that she answered Rapino the following week.

Asked about reports that the Justice Department would investigate Live Nation, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre declined to comment on details, but said President Joe Biden has been working to increase competition and limit the power of big business, believing that a “lack of competition leads to higher prices and poorer service.”


Associated Press writer Aamer Madhani contributed to this report from Washington DC

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