Ticketmaster's Taylor Swift cancellation to be probed by US Senate hearing

Taylor Swift criticised Ticketmaster after there were significant issues with her US tour ticket sales last week. Credit: PA

Ticketmaster is facing a US Senate hearing after its problems with selling Taylor Swift tickets for her eagerly awaited tour.

The online ticket sales company was criticised by Swift last week and forced to apologise after many fans struggled to buy tickets for her US tour.

On Tuesday, a US Senate Antitrust Subcommittee announced it would hold a hearing into the "lack of competition" in the ticketing industry following "significant service failures" on Ticketmaster's website.

Ticketmaster's "dominant market position" was highlighted as a reason for a lack of innovation and improvement in the industry.

Senator Amy Klobuchar, Chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights, said: “Last week, the competition problem in ticketing markets was made painfully obvious when Ticketmaster’s website failed hundreds of thousands of fans hoping to purchase concert tickets.

"The high fees, site disruptions and cancellations that customers experienced shows how Ticketmaster’s dominant market position means the company does not face any pressure to continually innovate and improve,” said Klobuchar. 

“That’s why we will hold a hearing on how consolidation in the live entertainment and ticketing industry harms customers and artists alike.

"When there is no competition to incentivise better services and fair prices, we all suffer the consequences.”

The Senate side of the US Capitol at sunrise in Washington DC Credit: AP

General ticket sales were planned to open on November 18 following the verified fan presale which opened on November 15 for Swift’s Eras Tour.

But Ticketmaster cancelled the public sale altogether, tweeting: “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.”

Swift responded and said on Instagram: “I'm not going to make excuses for anyone because we asked them, multiple times, if they could handle this kind of demand and we were assured they could.

“It's truly amazing that 2.4 million people got tickets, but it really p****s me off that a lot of them feel like they went through several bear attacks to get them.”

Ticketmaster later apologised to Swift and her fans.

In announcing the Senate hearing, Republican Senator Mike Lee, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee, said: “American consumers deserve the benefit of competition in every market, from grocery chains to concert venues.

“I look forward to exercising our Subcommittee’s oversight authority to ensure that anticompetitive mergers and exclusionary conduct are not crippling an entertainment industry already struggling to recover from pandemic lockdowns.”

Klobuchar last week wrote a letter to Ticketmaster about a "lack of competition" in the ticketing industry.

The senate hearing date will be announced at a later date. 

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know