Down to a T: Ticketmaster, Taylor Swift, and Antitrust Laws


On November 17, 2022, Ticketmaster made headlines at the expense of hardcore Taylor Swift fans, also known as Swifties.[1] On November 1, 2022, the pop artist released her Eras Tour schedule, leaving all ticket sales to be managed by Ticketmaster.[2] The backlash from fans regarding how the sale was handled concluded with action taken against Ticketmaster for antitrust violations.[3]

Eras Tour concert tickets could be purchased one of three ways.[4] First, fans could register as “verified fans” through the Ticketmaster website, which would allow them to enter a lottery to buy tickets for certain shows.[5] The “verified fan program” was initiated in 2017 to ensure the sale of tickets to actual fans, as opposed to resellers and bots.[6] Fans that were picked through the “verified fans” lottery received a code and a link to the ticket presale, scheduled to take place on November 15th.[7] Along with “verified fans,” concertgoers with Capital One debit or credit cards were also eligible to participate in the presale.[8] In the alternative, concertgoes had the option of purchashing tickets through the general public sale, scheduled to begin several days after the presale.[9]

The presale process was wrought with a number of issues that frustrated concertgoers.[10] Swifties took to social media to expose flaws in the system, tweeting messages like like “HOW IS TICKETMASTER ALREADY DOWN ?????? #TaylorSwiftTix.”[11] The issues snowballed until Ticketmaster had no choice but to cancel the general public sale, citing “extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand.”[12] Ticketmaster’s cancellation was harshly criticized by both the public and politicians,  prompting an investigation by the Senate and the Department of Justice into Ticketmaster’s activities.[13]

Unfortunately, this is not the first time that Ticketmaster has faced scrutiny regarding its business practices.[14] Since Ticketmaster’s 2010 merger with Live Nation Entertainment, it has faced criticism about its size, power in the entertainment industry, and how it displays the characteristics of a monopoly.[15] Legal challenges regarding Ticketmaster’s business practices, however, dates back to a time before its merger with Live Nation Entertainment.[16] In 2005, brought action against Ticketmaster, alleging that Ticketmaster’s business practices impeded trade in the market.[17] Specifically, argued that Ticketmaster’s long-term contracts with venues violated the Sherman Act because they restrained the ability for other ticket sellers to compete for contracts with venues.[18] Ultimately, the court ruled in favor of Ticketmaster, stating that did not present sufficient evidence proving that Ticketmaster’s contracts with venues excluded other ticket sellers from pursuing similar agreements with venues.[19]

However, Ticketmaster may not be as fortunate if action is brought regarding the Taylor Swift ticket sale fiasco.[20] When the case was brought by, Ticketmaster and Live Nation Entertainment had not yet merged.[21] Prior to the merger, it was arguably more challenging for a litigant to challenge Ticketmaster’s practices on grounds that they were exclusionary. In Ticketmaster Corp. v., Inc., Ticketmaster’s contracts with venues were subject to renewal at a rate that allowed entry into the market by competitors.[22] However, with the merger in place, Live Nation Entertainment promotes live events, runs a ticketing business via Ticketmaster, and owns and operates concert venues.[23] Thus, the combined capabilities of Ticketmaster and Live Nation Entertainment lend new support for antitrust claims.[24]

Given Ticketmaster’s present state, it is unlikely that a court would arrive at the same conclusion reached in Ticketmaster Corp. v., Inc. With the capabilities gained from its merger with Live Nation Entertainment, Ticketmaster has control of the venues, events, and ticket suppliers.[25] As such, there exists the argument that the competition for bidding contracts is harmed as a result of this concentration power.[26] Therefore, if action is brought against Ticketmaster in response to the Taylor Swift ticket sale, claims brought under the Sherman Act are more likely to be successful.

[1] See Lester Fabian Brathwaite, Justice is Swifty: Taylor Swift fans sue Ticketmaster over Eras tour tix debacle, EW Mag. (Dec. 4, 2022),

[2] Chris Wilman, Taylor Swift Announces 2023 ‘Eras Tour’ of U.S. Stadiums, Variety Mag.  (Nov. 1, 2022, 5:20 AM),

[3] See Rachel Treisman, Dozens of Taylor Swift fans sue Ticketmaster in the wake of its ticket sale fiasco, NPR (Dec. 6, 2022),

[4] See Wilman, supra note 2.

[5] Rob Wile & Morgan Song, Ticket sales for Taylor Swift tour reignite fan frustration over Ticketmaster, NBC News(Nov. 15, 2022, 11:55 AM),

[6] Sarah Whitten, Taylor Swift public ticket sale canceled over extreme demand, Ticketmaster says, CNBC (Nov. 17, 2022, 3:11 PM),

[7] Wile & Song, supra note 5.

[8] Zoe Malin, How to get presale tickets for Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour through Capital One, CNBC (Nov. 1, 2022),

[9] Greg Iacurci, Taylor Swift public ticket sale on Friday is canceled, Ticketmaster says. But the secondary market can be ‘buyer beware, CNBC (Nov. 17, 2022),

[10] Moises Mendez II, Why Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan System Is Giving Taylor Swift Fans a Major Headache—and How to Actually Find Tickets, Time Mag. (Nov. 17, 2022, 11:58 AM),

[11] Rebeca Thornburg (@beckathornburg), Twitter (Nov. 15, 2022, 9:32 AM),

[12] Ticketmaster (@ticketmaster), Twitter (Nov. 17, 2022, 3:00 PM),

[13] Alexis Christoforous, Taylor Swift tickets debacle renews calls to split up Ticketmaster and Live Nation, ABC News(Nov. 17, 2022 5:06 PM),; Bryan Koenig, Ticketmaster Faces DOJ, Senate Investigations, Law360 (Nov. 18, 2022, 5:28 PM),

[14] See Press Release, Live Nation and Ticketmaster Entertainment Complete Merger, (Jan. 25, 2010),

[15] Sara Whitten, Taylor Swift tour ticket fiasco leads to calls for Ticketmaster and Live Nation to break up, CNBC(Nov. 16, 2022 4:35 PM),

[16] See generally Ticketmaster Corp. v. Inc., 127 F. App’x 346 (9th Cir. 2005).

[17] Id. at 347.

[18] Id.

[19] Id.

[20] See Leah Nylen, Taylor Swift Debacle Rekindles Ticketmaster Antitrust Worries, Bloomberg (Dec. 21, 2022, 8:00 AM),

[21] See supra notes 14, 16 and accompanying text.

[22] Inc., 127 F. App’x at 347.

[23] Live Nation Ent., (last visited Nov. 21, 2022).

[24] See Nylen, supra note 20.

[25] See Live Nation Ent., supra note 22.

[26] See Nylen, supra note 20.


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Fordham Journal of Corporate & Financial Law