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Ticketmaster Says Attack Disrupted Swift Tour Sale

Ticketmaster learned “valuable lessons” when the sale of Taylor Swift’s 2023 US tour was disrupted by software attacks, its parent company will testify in the US Senate later.

The attack overwhelmed Ticketmaster’s systems, leading to lengthy delays and thousands of disappointed fans, who were unable to buy seats for the shows.

“In hindsight there are several things we could have done better,” said Live Nation president Joe Berchtold in written testimony released ahead of Tuesday’s hearing.

Acknowledging that the sale had been “a terrible consumer experience”, he apologised “to the many disappointed fans as well as to Ms Swift”.

Ticketmaster has repeatedly faced criticism from fans and politicians, who say it has too much control over the live music market and artificially inflates the cost of tickets with fees and service charges.

According to Senator Amy Klobuchar, who chairs the US Senate committee on consumer rights, Ticketmaster is responsible for 70% of ticket sales in the US.

“In truth, there is no other choice. It is a monopoly,” she told MSNBC last year.

Regarding the Swift tour, she added: “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.

Swift herself said it was “excruciating” to watch fans struggling to get tickets, and that she had been assured Ticketmaster could handle the demand.

In its written testimony, the company explained for the first time how its systems had been targeted by software “bots” used to illegally obtain tickets.

The attacks came despite the use of Ticketmaster’s “verified fan” scheme, which requires customers to pre-register their interest, allowing the company to check whether they are genuine fans intending to see the show.

“We knew bots would attack… and planned accordingly,” wrote Mr Berchtold.

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