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Ticketmaster is back in the spotlight, as tickets for Beyoncé’s upcoming Renaissance tour go on sale on the platform in the coming days.
This will be a big test for the ticketing giant, following the long wait times and technical glitches the site experienced during presales for Taylor Swift’s tour in November. The issues sparked congressional hearings, widespread vitriol among fans, several of whom filed a lawsuit against the ticketing giant, and pushback from Swift, who said she had been assured the platform could “handle this kind of demand.”
In his statement during the Jan. 24 congressional hearing on the matter, Live Nation Entertainment president and CFO Joe Berchtold blamed bots and cyberattacks for the problems during the Swift presales. The bots failed to acquire tickets, he said, but dealing with the attacks slowed down the site. He promised the company would do better.
“The recent onsale experience with Taylor Swift, one of the world’s most popular artists, has highlighted the need to address these issues urgently. We knew bots would attack that onsale and planned accordingly. We were then hit with three times the amount of bot traffic than we’d ever experienced. And for the first time in 400 verified fan onsales, they came after our Verified Fan password servers as well,” Berchtold said.
“This is what led to a terrible consumer experience, which we deeply regret. We apologize to the fans. We apologize to Miss Swift. We need to do better and we will do better,” he added.
Demand is also expected to be high for the Renaissance tour, Beyoncé’s first solo tour in more than six years. It begins May 10 in Europe before continuing to North America, with stops in Toronto, Chicago, East Rutherford, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Houston and other cities. Live Nation is the promoter of the tour, and is owned by the same parent company as Ticketmaster.
To help accommodate some of the demand, Ticketmaster said it is staggering sale dates and using its Verified Fan system to power sales for the North American leg of the tour. The registration process is also slightly different this time, as windows for the Verified Fan sales close at different times depending on the selected city.
“It’s expected there will be more demand than there are tickets available and a lottery-style process will determine which registered Verified Fans receive a unique access code for the sale and which are put on the waitlist,” Ticketmaster said.
On Thursday, Ticketmaster added seven more shows to the existing lineup, as interest sky-rocketed. Swift had also added more concerts ahead of the onsale date.
“Fan demand already exceeds the number of tickets available by more than 800% based on the registration numbers in the Group A cities,” Ticketmaster wrote on its blog. Those cities include Toronto, Chicago, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles and East Rutherford, New Jersey.
During the Swift presale, which followed a similar Verified Fan selection system, Live Nation Entertainment CEO Michael Rapino said that 3.5 million fans registered and 1.5 million were selected to buy tickets. Ticketmaster sold 2 million tickets during the Swift presale, a record for a single artist in a day, but continued to experience technical issues with its Capital One sale the next day due to high demand. The company then canceled the general sale Nov. 17.
Tickets for the Renaissance tour go on sale in North America starting Feb. 6, with Verified Fan presales for BeyHive members and Citi credit card holders. There is also a presale for Verizon mobile customers.
Updated as of 3 P.M. PT Thursday to reflect the new concert dates and demand.
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