Ah, Ticketmaster…. so many things I could say, and one of these days I really should do an AMA on them and the whole biz 🙂
With regard to the Taylor Swift debacle; yeah, things went sideways pretty quickly, for a number of reasons and not all of them under TMs control. Ticketing is a whole lot harder than people think and there are certain things you just can’t do with the inventory map that many people think you can, to make things better. Yes, they were inundated with far more requests than they ever expected, or had ever had before. Enough requests for tickets (in the queue, etc.) for Taylor to play a show every night (stadium sized shows of 70k+ people, etc.) every night for the next 2 1/2 years. That many requests!
Yet through all the crap, foibles, and total screw ups of the onsale, Ticketmaster still managed to sell out all of her shows, totaling millions of tickets, to the point that there will be no “public” onsale since the inventory is already sold!
As for the monopoly talk… good luck with that. I was around for the Pearl Jam Senate antitrust hearings, helped make the copies of all the contracts and documents that were supplied to the Senate subcommittee (Fred Rosen only trusted a select few to do so, I unfortunately was one of them). And Ticketmaster has more competition now than they did then.
With regard to the merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation, should it have been allowed? Well that’s a different question…. and for that there is enough blame to go around for all parties involved. There’s a lot of backstory as to why the merger was proposed, how the consent decree was implemented, how those that partook in said wasted their advantage, etc. (I’m looking at you AXS/AEG, the second largest promoter/venue owner in the world) So again, there’s enough blame to go around….
And let’s not forget that folks talk about all the fees, which TM doesn’t take all of. Those are split with their clients (venues and promoters), and for the most part, they are all contractual, so the Lakers or a promoter, for example, know what their fees are increasing to next year (and they are set by the client, not by TM).
Not defending TM, just saying that it’s a far more complex situation than folks think, with a whole lot of baggage and moving parts.