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Taylor Swift Calls Ticketmaster Woes ‘Excruciating’ in Statement to Fans

Following days of ticketing drama that left millions of Taylor Swift fans unhappy, without recourse and unsure where to place blame, the singer called the situation “excruciating” in a sternly worded but ultimately vague statement on Instagram on Friday that put the responsibility on corporate partners.

Swift, who did not name Ticketmaster, the company behind the botched concert rollout, wrote that she was “extremely protective” of her fans, and had brought “so many elements” of her career in house in order to improve fan experiences “by doing it myself with my team who care as much about my fans as I do.”

“It’s really difficult for me to trust an outside entity with these relationships and loyalties, and excruciating for me to just watch mistakes happen with no recourse,” Swift added. “There are a multitude of reasons why people had such a hard time trying to get tickets and I’m trying to figure out how this situation can be improved moving forward. I’m not going to make excuses for anyone because we asked them, multiple times, if they could handle this kind of demand and we were assured they could.”

On Thursday, Ticketmaster canceled its planned public sale of tickets to the singer’s Eras Tour after several tiers of presales for fans went awry. The company cited “extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand.”

There was no indication of when or how any remaining tickets would be sold.

Earlier, Ticketmaster had said it sold two million tickets for the tour on Tuesday alone. In a since-deleted blog post, the company said that 3.5 million people had registered for the Verified Fan program — designed to weed out bots and scalpers — and that about 1.5 million of them were given a special code to gain access to the early sale, with the remaining two million put on a waiting list.

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Ticketmaster said it received 3.5 billion system requests that day, four times its previous peak.

In her statement, Swift said, “It’s truly amazing that 2.4 million people got tickets, but it really pisses me off that a lot of them feel like they went through several bear attacks to get them.”

To those fans who did not get tickets, she wrote, “all I can say is that my hope is to provide more opportunities for us to all get together and sing these songs.”

Greg Maffei, the chairman of Live Nation Entertainment, which owns Ticketmaster, said in an interview on CNBC on Thursday that Swift’s popularity was in part to blame. “The reality is, Taylor Swift hasn’t been on the road for three or four years and that’s caused a huge issue,” he said. “We could’ve filled 900 stadiums.”

The Eras Tour, which is scheduled for 52 dates in North America starting in March, will be the singer’s first in five years, and comes after a period of chart-topping, Grammy-winning productivity, including the release of five albums in just over two years. Her latest, “Midnights,” sold more than 1.5 million copies in its first week, the most for any album in seven years.

The meltdown in ticketing this week renewed calls from lawmakers to break up the 2010 merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation, which some said constituted a monopoly. The Justice Department has opened an antitrust investigation — which predates the Swift ticketing troubles — focused on whether Live Nation has abused its power over the live music industry, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

Swift’s most dogged fans, known as Swifties, got in on the action, too, questioning on social media and in message board posts how best to express their collective ire. “As a group, we should focus on how we can help bring down Ticketmaster. Not each other, and probably not Taylor herself,” one wrote.

Some suggested filing complaints with the Federal Trade Commission, contacting state and federal representatives and teaming up with other fan armies. “Can someone please tell me what the steps are for taking down a Monopoly like Ticketmaster?” another wrote. “Because I have no idea what I’m doing but I’m super motivated.”

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