Ticketmaster blames cyberattack for Taylor Swift tour debacle

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WASHINGTON - American concert booking website Ticketmaster was hit by a cyberattack in 2022 that led to it botching sales for Taylor Swift’s United States tour, it told lawmakers on Tuesday as it apologised to the pop superstar and her fans.

Critics have long accused the company of being a monopoly, but fan outrage boiled over in November as website outages left thousands of “Swifties” who had been hoping to catch the 33-year-old singer’s Eras tour empty-handed.

Mr Joe Berchtold, the president of parent company Live Nation, told the US Senate Judiciary Committee the meltdown came after the website was “hit with three times the amount of bot traffic than we had ever experienced”.

“While the bots failed to penetrate our systems or acquire any tickets, the attack required us to slow down and even pause our sales,” he said.

Ticketmaster immediately became a focus of Swifty fury, while members of Congress accused it of anti-competitive practices and called for curbs on its dominance – or even for the company to be broken up.

Apologising to the 11-time Grammy Award-winner and her fans, Mr Berchtold told senators an “ever-escalating arms race” had sprung up between ticketing companies and “industrial scalpers, using bots and cyberattacks” to illegally obtain tickets for resale.

“In hindsight, there are several things we could have done better. And let me be clear that Ticketmaster accepts its responsibility as being the first line of defence in spots in our industry as ever-escalating arms race,” he testified.

The cyberattack disclosure did not take the heat off of the company, however.

Witnesses also included outspoken Ticketmaster critic and musician Clyde Lawrence – whose band Lawrence included the line “Live Nation is a monopoly” in its 2021 song False Alarms.

‘800-pound gorilla’

He said Live Nation’s tripl...

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