Numerous Taylor Swift fans have united to organise a campaign against Ticketmaster following the recent controversy surrounding the recent Eras Tour sale.
Swift said in a statement last Friday that Ticketmaster had “assured” her it was able to handle huge demand, but she acknowledged how some fans had “such a hard time trying to get tickets” for her 2023 North American dates.
It came after the company announced on Thursday that the general ticket sale was cancelled, citing “extraordinarily high demand” and “insufficient remaining ticket inventory.”
Many customers had reported technical issues while attempting to purchase tickets via a pre-sale last Tuesday, including lengthy wait times and ongoing website outages. Later, Ticketmaster posted an update in which the firm said there had been “historically unprecedented demand” as “millions” of Swift fans tried to secure tickets for The Eras Tour.
The New York Times reported that the United States Department of Justice is opening an antitrust investigation into Live Nation – the company that owns Ticketmaster – while various US lawmakers have hit out at the aforementioned firms.
A reported 14 million people attempted to access Ticketmaster for last week’s pre-sale, with 2.4 million users eventually managing to buy tickets.
As reported by Mashable, around 35 Swift fans – who are mostly lawyers – joined a group chat called ‘Vigilante Legal’ (a nod to the singer’s ‘Midnights’ song ‘Vigilante Shit’) over the course of 24 hours. The thread was set up by Blake Barnett, a 30-year old lawyer who ended up forking out $500 in fees for her group of friends’ tickets for one of Swift’s concerts in Chicago.
On November 16, Barnett shared the following tweet: “Calling all swiftie lawyers: lmk [let me know] if you wanna be added to a GC [group chat] to brainstorm if there’s anything we can do to take action against @ticketmaster.”
In a later post, she confirmed that the group’s participants were “reporting Ticketmaster to the FTC [Federal Trade Commission] and drafting a brief to hopefully use to assist state [attorney generals] and politicians in taking them down”. According to Mashable, the group is now a full-fledged limited liability company (LLC).
“Something needs to be done. They’re violating antitrust laws,” Barnett told the outlet. “The monopoly merger [in 2010] should have never been allowed to happen between Live Nation and Ticketmaster.”
The publication spoke to various other members of the group. Elizabeth Burg, 28, said she had been “radicalised” through her bad ticket-buying experience. On Twitter, Burg called on fans to sign a petition to “Tell the Department of Justice to Investigate Ticketmaster.”
Stephanie Aly, 33, officially launched the ‘Vigilante Legal’ campaign on her Swift fan site The Swifties. A description on the website reads: “Vigilante Legal is uniting Swifties and fans of music everywhere to end the era of outrageous fees, hours-long queues to nowhere, glitchy processing and terrible customer service. There’s no fan base better suited to taking Ticketmaster down. We have a massive, engaged online community; our collective power has the potential to effect real change across the music industry if we work together to make it happen.”
Among the Democratic politicians to have hit out at Ticketmaster and Live Nation is New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “Daily reminder that Ticketmaster is a monopoly, its merger with LiveNation should never have been approved, and they need to be reigned in,” she tweeted. “Break them up.”
In 2010, Live Nation and Ticketmaster merged to form Live Nation Entertainment. At the time the Justice Department accepted the merger, but amended the deal in 2019 due to violations of the original deal, as reported by Billboard.