Pascrell calls Ticketmaster ‘anti-heroes’ amid NJ sales crisis

“It’s me, hi, it’s me, the problem, it’s me.”

If you ask any congressman from New Jersey, these lyrics, written by Taylor Swift, sum up Ticketmaster’s massive ticketing crisis this week — while the ticketing dealer has been pointing the finger at automated bots being used by scalpers.

US Rep. Bill Pascrell, DN.J. 9th District, who riffed on some other lyrics to the same Swift song “Anti-hero,” slamming the ticket giant after advance sales for the pop star’s upcoming tour went horribly wrong.

The North Jersey Democrat tweeted, “@Ticketmaster should not be left alone with their devices. They come with prizes and vices. #Swifties end up in crisis. Break up Ticketmaster,” followed by a few tour hashtags.

Early Thursday, Ticketmaster announced that the general Swift ticket presale window would never open after a record-breaking two million tickets were bought in one day during the presale that crashed the company’s website.

That tweet,“Due to exceptionally high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet this demand, tomorrow’s public presale for Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour has been cancelled,” was immediately met with outrage and despair from fans who were locked out trying to get tickets.

Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan System was created in 2017 to try to prevent scalpers from using technology to snag all available tickets and release them at obscenely inflated prices.

But according to Ticketmaster, which merged with LiveNation in 2010 and became the sole ticket seller for most US venues, the bots apparently were too quick for Swifties.

New Jersey’s Pascrell Slams Ticketmaster Taylor Swift For Chaos (Townsquare Media, Canva)

(Townsquare Media, Canva)

Floor seats for the first of three MetLife Stadium shows in May were listed on a resale site for between $2,400 and $17,000 each.

Senior tickets for the 300s at the East Rutherford stadium started at more than $800 a piece for the same night at the same venue.

On the first night at Lincoln Financial Field, a few weeks earlier, it was pretty much the same range.

Floor seats have been listed on the same resale site for between $1,800 and $10,000 each.

Upper level seating at the same Philadelphia venue started at around $800 for the same show.

Swift is scheduled to play at Lincoln Financial Field on May 12th, 13th and 14th. The tour will then take place at MetLife Stadium on May 26, 27 and 28.

NJ Slams Ticketmaster Taylor Swift Mayhem (Townsquare Media, Canva)

(Townsquare Media, Canva)

BOTS law

Frustrated fans and politicians have focused in recent days on the monopoly that Ticketmaster holds over ticket sales.

In fact, a federal measure was passed six years ago aimed at combating the use of technology by ticket brokers who sell concert tickets for the price of a mortgage payment or more.

The Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act was enacted in 2016 and gave the Federal Trade Commission the power to take law enforcement action against such individuals and businesses.

Almost two years ago, in January 2021, the first lawsuits were filed against three ticket brokers based in New York.

The brokers have been hit with civil penalties totaling more than $31 million for violating the BOTS law as part of a proposed settlement with the FTC.

But “due to their insolvency,” the sentence was partially stayed, leaving them to pay just $3.7 million.

After The Eras Tour debacle, Pascrell’s office conducts a poll of who missed Swift tickets.

federal investigation requested

Pascrell also led 31 members of Congress, including several others from NJ, in urging the Justice Department to launch a formal investigation into Ticketmaster.

“There is overwhelming evidence that the merger between the world’s largest concert promoter and the largest ticketing company has stifled competition for ticketing in the live entertainment market,” reads part of the letter to US Attorney General Merrick Garland.

The letter was sent by Reps. Signed Pascrell, Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-12), Donald Payne, Jr. (D-10), Josh Gottheimer (D-5) and Andy Kim (D-3), as well as colleagues from other states.

Taylor Swift via Instagram about ticket sales chaos at Ticketmaster

(Taylor Swift via Instagram Stories)

Taylor answers

On Friday, Taylor Swift said it was “agonizing” to see “mistakes happen without recourse.”

In a statement posted to Instagram Stories, the singer railed against the ticket seller without naming him.

“I will not apologize to anyone because we have asked them numerous times if they can handle this type of demand and we have been assured that they could,” Swift said, adding that there are “a multitude of reasons why people had such a hard time.”

“It’s really amazing that 2.4 million people got tickets, but it really pisses me off that many of them feel like they went through multiple bear attacks to get them.”

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