Taylor Swift recently told fans to draw their cat eyes sharp enough to kill a man, and Swifties have taken the advice to heart. Twenty-six Taylor Swift fans are uniting in an attempt to take down LiveNation, Ticketmaster’s parent company, following its botched handling of ticket sales for Swift’s The Eras Tour in November.
A lawsuit submitted in Los Angeles County claims that Ticketmaster’s “anticompetitive scheme” includes forcing fans and artists to exclusively use its platform and its “Secondary Ticket Exchange” to buy and sell tickets. It also claims that Ticketmaster “willfully, purposely, and intentionally deceived” buyers in the ways it promoted and distributed presale codes, in particular, that it “failed to disclose that they had sent more codes than they could accommodate with tickets.”
The complaint seeks $2,500 per violation. According to Live Nation chairman Greg Maffei, “14 million people hit the site” hoping to purchase tickets to The Era Tour. He estimated that that is enough people to fill 900 stadiums. Even if we assume that only 10 million of those hits were legitimate, Ticketmaster would still be obligated to make up to $25 billion in payouts.
In November, Mashable spoke to Swifties about the agonizing wait and frustrating errors that plagued the ticket-buying process. Blake Barnett, a 30-year-old lawyer said, “We were sitting in pre-waiting lines for two or three hours… right when I got ‘You’re the next in line,’ it gave me an error code and said rejoin the queue. I was shoved back behind 38,000 people. That happened three times.”
In response, Barnett formed an LLC named Vigilante Legal to take up the mantle against Ticketmaster. On Twitter yesterday, Vigilante Legal acknowledged the lawsuit but noted they are not involved.
The tangled ticketing mess also drew the attention of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) who tweeted about Ticketmaster’s monopoly on the industry. Chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust and Consumer Rights Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and ranking member, Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah, recently announced that they would hold a Senate hearing on competition in the ticket industry. And the New York Times has reported that the Department of Justice was already looking into Live Nation over antitrust concerns.
In the ’90s, “America’s most powerful rock band” Pearl Jam attempted to take on Ticketmaster’s monopoly and lost in court. Now, a new generation has been radicalized.