Millions of Taylor Swift fans swarmed Live Nation’s Ticketmaster website on Tuesday to try to score seats for her first tour in five years, causing periodic outages and long online waits as some tickets were quickly posted for resale for thousands of dollars.
The ticket-selling site said in a statement that “historically unprecedented demand” for Swift’s 52-date United States tour had seen millions of people attempt to buy presale tickets, which had caused “intermittent issues” that the company was “urgently” working to resolve.
Fans elsewhere reported waiting in online queues for up to eight hours, and many finding they were too late to purchase tickets, which cost between $49 and $449 each.
While presale tickets were initially only open to Swift fans selected as “verified fans” – a system set up to deter bots and scalpers – some tickets were already being listed on resale sites such as StubHub for as much as US$22,700 (£19,100, A $33,500 each.
Ticket sales for west coast shows were delayed by three hours to help ease pressure on Ticketmaster. Another presale, for Capital One credit cardholders, was postponed from Tuesday to Wednesday.
The Eras tour will be Swift’s first tour since 2018.
“I’m a failure as a father,” wrote Dave Pell, author of the popular NextDraft newsletter.
“The one time my daughter really needed me to come through for her, I ended up on the outside looking in, banished to the barren badlands of the Taylor Swift ticket waiting list wasteland,” he said.
Other Swifties, the nickname for Swift’s fans, said they were repeatedly dropped from queues and turned their ire towards Ticketmaster. Some said they took a day off work and felt the process should have gone more smoothly.
A Democratic US lawmaker also criticized the company. “@Ticketmaster’s excessive wait times and fees are completely unacceptable, as seen with today’s @taylorswift13 tickets,” David Cicilline wrote on Twitter.
He added that the 2010 merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation, which had Justice Department approval, should not have been allowed. “It’s no secret that Live Nation Ticketmaster is an unchecked monopoly,” he said.
Cicilline, who chairs the House of Representatives antitrust panel, called on the Justice Department to investigate. The agency declined to comment.
The ticketing industry has frustrated Americans for years with hidden fees, limited ticket availability because of presales, and other irritations.
Hundreds of thousands of people did manage to buy tickets, Ticketmaster said.
Swift released her latest album, Midnights, in October. She has promised hits from albums spanning her career on the Eras tour, which is scheduled to start in March and end in August.
Reuters contributed to this report