The CEO of Liberty Media, the largest shareholder in concert promotion company Live Nation and its ticket-selling platform, Ticketmaster, told CNBC on Thursday that 14 million people tried to purchase tickets for Taylor Swift’s upcoming “Eras” tour when pre-sale was launched on Tuesday, crashing the site and causing extra-long wait times.
Greg Maffei, who also chairs Live Nation’s board of directors, said Ticketmaster opened pre-sale access to 1.5 million “verified” Taylor Swift fans, fans who are selected to receive pre-sale access, but 14 million users—including bots—tried to get tickets.
Even with the site crashing, over 2 million tickets were sold ahead of Friday, when tickets become available to the general public, Maffei said.
While Maffei said he is “sympathetic” to fans who couldn’t get tickets, he said the difficulties were “a function of the massive demand Taylor Swift has.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) criticized Live Nation for the technical issues, calling Live Nation a “monopoly,” and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) has also raised antitrust concerns as a result of the Swift debacle.
In response, Maffei said, “Though AOC may not like every element of our business,” Swift’s concert is actually being promoted by competitor AEG, not Live Nation, which chose to use Ticketmaster to sell tickets.
“We could have filled 900 stadiums,” Maffei said, considering the number of people trying to get Swift tickets.
$28,000. That’s how much some resellers were charging for tickets to one of Swift’s shows in Florida, Reuters reported Wednesday.
“Eras” is Swift’s first tour since 2018’s “Reputation.” Since then she’s put out four new albums, including Midnights, which was released in October and had the biggest debut of Swift’s career. When tickets first became available on Tuesday, fans took to social media to complain about long wait times and crashes. Ticketmaster put out a statement that demand for the tour was “historically unprecedented,” and postponed other pre-sale events so it could better handle the excess needs. “Eras” is Swift’s largest tour ever, and has more than 50 North American stops scheduled.