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Ticketmaster cancels general public sale of tickets for Taylor Swift's tour due to "extraordinarily high demands"

After days of complaints about complications and system glitches that arose during the presale for Taylor Swift's The Eras tour, Ticketmaster announced Thursday that the public sale of tickets has been canceled. They were set to go on sale Friday. 

"Due to extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand, tomorrow's public on-sale for Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour has been cancelled," the company tweeted

The company did not offer any further information about the problems they mentioned, and did not indicate if more tickets would ever be sold. 

Fans were disappointed on Tuesday, when some who had secured Verified Fan presale codes got stuck in Ticketmaster's virtual waiting room or experienced other technical difficulties. Demand for the tour was so great that other phases of the presale were rescheduled for that evening or the following day. 

Shortly before announcing the cancellation of the general sale on Thursday, Ticketmaster shared a statement explaining what went wrong, blaming unprecedented demand and people who went to the site without Verified Fan access codes. 

"The Eras on sale made one thing clear: Taylor Swift is an unstoppable force and continues to set records," the company said in a press release Thursday morning. "We strive to make ticket buying as easy as possible for fans, but that hasn't been the case for many people trying to buy tickets for the Eras Tour." 

The company said that over 3.5 million people pre-registered for a chance to score a Verified Fan access code, the largest amount of sign-ups in the company's history. About 1.5 million people received codes, and other people who pre-registered were put on a waitlist. 

Demand for Taylor Swift tickets crashes Ticketmaster 00:23

The Verified Fan system aims to keep bots from purchasing tickets for resale and to stop the site from being overwhelmed as it was during the Swift presale. 

"Historically, around 40% of invited fans actually show up and buy tickets, and most purchase an average of 3 tickets," Ticketmaster explained. 

However, the site experienced a "staggering number of bot attacks," and fans who did not have Verified Fan access codes attempted to join the queue, resulting in 3.5 billion system requests, four times more than Ticketmaster has ever handled in the past. 

"Never before has a Verified Fan on sale sparked so much attention – or uninvited volume. This disrupted the predictability and reliability that is the hallmark of our Verified Fan platform," the site said. To cope with the volume, some sales were slowed or rescheduled to "stabilize" Ticketmaster's systems. 

Ticketmaster estimated that about 15% of people using the site experienced issues, including losing tickets that they had already placed in their carts. 

Compounding the issues are the tickets already available for resale: Reporting from CBS New York found an instance of a third party selling tickets for up to $17,000 a seat. Fans online flagged tickets going for as much as $22,500 apiece. In their statement, Ticketmaster said that "90% fewer tickets are currently posted for resale ... than a typical on sale," and said that their site is not currently reselling any tickets for the tour. Every ticket was sold to a buyer with a Verified Fan code, Ticketmaster said. 

Swift's fans, known as Swifties, voiced their complaints online. Some complaints even drew the attention of politicians, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who took the opportunity to criticize the company, calling it a monopoly that dominated the ticket-buying market. 

Klobuchar, chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights, also wrote a letter to Ticketmaster's CEO raising concern about the ticketing industry's lack of competition and how that impacted fans, according to Variety

Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmettian has also launched an investigation into the chaos surrounding the Swift tour sales. 

Despite the technical difficulties, sales for the Eras tour broke records: Ticketmaster said that over two million tickets were sold on Tuesday, marking the most tickets ever sold for an artist in a single day. One million tickets to other events were also sold on Ticketmaster that day. 

In total, Swift's tour, her first in four years, will encompass 52 dates in 17 states. Ticketmaster said that to meet the demand that surged to their site on Tuesday, Swift would need to perform over 900 stadium shows, which would be one show a night for more than two and a half years. 

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