Justice Department officials have asked whether Live Nation is abiding by the agreement as part of their new investigation, one of the people with knowledge of the matter said. Agency officials are increasingly wary of such settlements, believing the best way to resolve antitrust issues is through changes in a company’s structure.
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The debacle surrounding Ms. Swift’s concert tickets this week has exacerbated complaints in the music business and in Washington that Live Nation’s power has limited competition and hurt consumers. But it was also an example of extraordinary demand for a highly coveted commodity with very limited supply.
The trouble began Tuesday when Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan system, which aims to weed out bots and professional scalpers from the process, began handing out access codes to fans interested in purchasing tickets for Ms. Swift’s Eras tour, which is scheduled for March.
According to a Ticketmaster blog post, published Thursday but deleted within hours, 3.5 million fans have signed up for the program. The company “invited” 1.5 million of those customers to the presale by sending them codes, and the remaining two million were placed on a waiting list.
That day, Ticketmaster received 3.5 billion system requests, crashing the app for many users; some who were in the process of buying tickets with their codes were unable to complete their transactions. According to Ticketmaster, two million tickets were sold on Tuesday alone. Another presale took place on Wednesday, for Capital One cardholders.
But on Thursday afternoon, Ticketmaster canceled its plans for a public ticket sale on Friday, when it would normally sell any remaining tickets after the presale. It was unclear how many tickets had already been sold for Ms. Swift’s tour and how many were left.
On Friday, in her initial comments on the ticket debacle, Ms Swift posted a statement on social media saying she was looking into the situation to see how it could be improved. But she also expressed her disappointment with Ticketmaster.
“I’m not going to make excuses for anyone,” Ms. Swift wrote, “because we asked them several times if they could meet these kinds of demands, and we were assured they could.”
David McCabe reported from Washington and Ben Sisario from New York.