Ticketmaster apologises and blames bot attack for Taylor Swift ticket disaster

Ticketmaster has apologised after its site crashed and left thousands of Taylor Swift fans without tickets.

Ticketmaster’s parent company Live Nation said that they should have done a “better job” by staggering sales over a longer time period, during a congressional hearing addressing its handling of the singer’s ticket sales.

“We apologise to the fans. We apologise to Ms Swift. We need to do better, and we will do better, said Live Nation president Joe Berchtold.

The ticket company published a statement ahead of a US Senate hearing, which blamed a bot attack for the issues with the site.

According to the statement, Ticketmaster usually controls bot issues by using the pre-registration service to ensure fans are legitimate.

However, bots were still able to overwhelm the system, so Ticketmaster apparently slowed the site down to ensure they were unable to get access.

In a statement submitted by Ticketmaster ahead of the senate, Berchtold claimed they “knew bots would attack... and planned accordingly,” reports the BBC.

"We were then hit with three times the amount of bot traffic than we had ever experienced, and for the first time in 400 Verified Fan on sales they came after our Verified Fan access code servers,” wrote Berchtold.

"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 added.

Joe Berchtold during the hearing (Getty Images)
Joe Berchtold during the hearing (Getty Images)

“This is what led to a terrible consumer experience that we deeply regret."

Senator Amy Klobuchar of the Judiciary Committee pointed out that because Ticketmaster are responsible for 70% of ticket sales in the US, they are without the competition to motivate them to improve their services.

“The high fees, site disruptions and cancellations that customers experienced shows how Ticketmaster’s dominant market position means the company does not face any pressure to continually innovate and improve,” she said.

She was also critical of the high pricing of tickets, reports the Mail Online: “Concert goers today should be able to have the same experiences I had when I was in high school when it didn’t cost very much - just be able to go see a band and remember it forever.”

Berchtold claimed that Ticketmaster does not set the prices, and argued that most ticket fees that they charge goes to the venues.

According to the Mail Online, during the hearing, Senate Richard Blumenthal even referenced Swift’s “Anti-Hero” song in his comments: “Ticketmaster should look in the mirror and say ‘I’m the problem, it’s me.”