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But with the demand came some technical issues. Speaking at the Liberty Media investor day Thursday, Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino said the company, which owns Ticketmaster, saw more than 3.5 million people try to register as verified fans to buy tickets to the pop star’s upcoming U.S. tour. Those that received codes to buy tickets then overwhelmed the site Tuesday, Rapino said, causing a few hours of “slowdowns,” as the company worked to stabilize the system.
“We invited a million and a half on that day to come and buy those tickets, but it’s kind of like having a party. Everybody crashed that door at the same time with 3.5 billion requests,” Rapino said. Site visits also included bots, as well as fans who did not have codes to purchase tickets.
“We sold 2 million tickets, the most we’ve ever sold in one day in history, and another million tickets of other artists on the same day. So although we regret it was a slowdown in some queues and some error codes for a short period for some fans, we did manage to recover,” the Live Nation exec added.
Ticketmaster tweeted later in the day that the sale of tickets to the general public Friday had been canceled due to “extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet the demand.”
The long waits for buying tickets and error messages on the site sparked vitriol among many Swift fans, who took to social media to decry the ticket-buying process. On Tuesday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that Ticketmaster’s merger with Live Nation “should never have been approved” and has created a “monopoly.” (Swift’s Eras tour is promoted by AEG and Messina Touring Group, not Live Nation. Ticketmaster handled most of the concert sales).
“There’s no nice way to tell 10 million Swifties, ‘There’s no tickets.’ So they do what they do and they go to social and we deal with that every day,” Rapino said, adding that the company works with the venue and the artist on pricing and ticket sales.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar also took on the issue earlier this week, writing in an open letter that “Reports about system failures, increasing fees, and complaints of conduct that violate the consent decree Ticketmaster is under suggest that Ticketmaster continues to abuse its market positions.” Klobuchar asked the company to respond to a series of questions concerning high-profile ticket releases and the company’s ticketing systems by Nov. 27.
Looking to the company’s growth plans, Rapino said Live Nation will be looking to expand internationally, with a particular eye on South America, Japan and Latin America, with most of Western Europe as a “new territory” for the company. On Thursday, Live Nation upped its fan target to reach 175 million concert fans in the near to medium term.
“Most of those fans are going to come outside of America as we now look at the globalization of the artist, thanks to all the social platforms,” Rapino said.
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