Taylor Swift fans in court over Ticketmaster fiasco

Fans allege the company violated antitrust laws in setting prices.

March 27, 2023, 2:16 PM

Taylor Swift fans got their day in court on Monday, months after the botched release of tour tickets prompted widespread outcry.

A federal court in Los Angeles held a predominantly procedural hearing in a case brought by as many as 340 fans who allege that Live Nation -- and subsidiary company Ticketmaster -- violated antitrust and consumer protection laws.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs, John Genga and Jennifer Kinder, were joined by a handful of plaintiffs who flew in from various parts of the U.S., the attorneys said.

The lawyers described the plaintiffs as fans who feel the ticket-purchasing process is "broken" and "corrupt." The fans hope this is a turning point in breaking up a monopoly, the lawyers said.

The fall release of tickets for Swift's "New Era" tour, her first in five years, prompted government scrutiny of antitrust laws, including a Senate hearing in January at which Live Nation president and Chief Financial Officer Joe Berchtold apologized for the fiasco.

The lawsuit, filed in December, claims that the 2010 merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster illegally stamped out competition in live events ticketing, allowing the company to charge exorbitant prices for tickets.

In a court filing last month, Live Nation tried to end the court proceedings and force the dispute into private arbitration, claiming that ticket buyers had agreed on multiple occasions over the course of online shopping to resolve any claims through arbitration.

Live Nation and Ticketmaster did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

PHOTO: FILE - A Ticketmaster logo seen displayed on a smartphone
A Ticketmaster logo seen displayed on a smartphone
SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images, FILE

"We are not going to just settle," Julie Barfuss, a lead plaintiff, told ABC's "Good Morning America." "We want to see some change."

Fans of Swift were expected to hold a rally outside the courthouse on Monday.

Days after the tickets were released, in November, Swift spoke out about the difficulty faced by ticket purchasers.

"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 going forward," she said.

The next court date will likely be May 25.

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