Greg Maffei, the chairman of Live Nation and CEO of Liberty Media, made an appearance on CNBC on Thursday morning to talk about the problems with Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan programme that led to irate Taylor Swift fans being stranded in a virtual line for hours in order to purchase advance tickets for the singer’s anticipated Eras Tour.
“I apologize to all our fans. We are working hard on this,” Maffei spoke about the company’s efforts to sort out the situation that caused fan (and parent) consternation from coast-to-coast. “Building capacity for peak demand is something we attempt to do, but this exceeded every expectation.”
This week, Ticketmaster, a corporation controlled by Live Nation with Liberty retaining a 30% ownership position, has come under fire for the company’s website experiencing widespread outages and excessive delays that left some customers with little choice but to wait hours in a digital line or leave empty-handed.
“Daily reminder that Ticketmaster is a monopoly. Its merger with LiveNation should never have been approved & they need to be reigned in. Break them up,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. Maffie said that the Live Nations team is “sympathetic that the long wait times and fans who couldn’t get what they wanted… reality is it’s a function of the massive demand that Taylor Swift has.”
Maffei stated that 14 million Swifties attempted to log in, including bots that were not permitted to join the line. He noted that the pre-sale was only intended to be accessible to 1.5 million Verified Swift fans ahead of Tuesday’s on-sale. Despite the difficulties and failures, he claimed that TM sold 2 million tickets on Tuesday, a staggering amount that, according to Maffei, could have filled 900 stadiums.
The largest pre-registration in the history of the service, according to TM, was made for the Swift concerts by more than 3.5 million people using Verified Fan. According to Swift’s team, 1.5 million fans were asked to participate in the sale, with the remaining 2 million Verified Fans being placed on a waiting list. This was done in light of the fact that historically, “around 40% of invited fans actually show up and buy tickets.”
“Though AOC [a common nickname for Ocasio-Cortez] may not like every element of our business, AEG, our competitor who is the promoter for Taylor Swift, chose to use us because we are, in reality, the largest and most effective ticket seller in the world. Even our competitors want to come on our platform,” Maffei added.