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Ticketmaster Struggles with High Demand and Bot Issues during Taylor Swift Ticket Sale in France

Ticketmaster once again faced technical difficulties during a Taylor Swift ticket sale, this time in France, as fans eagerly attempted to secure tickets for her upcoming Eras Tour concerts in May and June 2024. The website displayed an overwhelming queue of customers, with one screenshot indicating over one million shoppers ahead in line. Ticketmaster subsequently announced a sales pause for the affected shows and assured fans that unused codes would remain valid. However, frustrated fans reported encountering technical errors on the website, including a perpetually spinning progress icon.

In a later statement on social media, Ticketmaster France attributed the issue to an unidentified third-party provider, clarifying that tickets were still available. Live Nation Entertainment, Ticketmaster's parent company, stated that the provider only collaborates with Ticketmaster in France. This incident echoes the problems faced during Taylor Swift's North American presale in November, where Ticketmaster's systems were overwhelmed by a surge of fans and bots. Customers encountered issues such as disappearing tickets in their shopping carts, leading to Ticketmaster temporarily suspending the public sale.

The recurring problems, along with ongoing concerns about Ticketmaster and Live Nation's market dominance, prompted a Senate Judiciary hearing in January. Senators from both parties criticized the company as a monopoly and questioned its failure to differentiate between bots and genuine consumers. The hearing revealed the pressing need for Ticketmaster to develop effective algorithms to combat bot activity. Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee expressed her astonishment, emphasizing the necessity of sorting out legitimate customers from automated systems.

Despite the challenges, the demand for Taylor Swift tickets remains extraordinary, with sold-out stadiums and resale prices reaching thousands of dollars. Swift is scheduled to complete the North American leg of her tour next month before heading to Latin America, Asia, and Europe.

In a separate matter, the Justice Department has been conducting an antitrust investigation into Live Nation, although it has not officially confirmed the probe. Live Nation's CEO, Michael Rapino, has publicly acknowledged the investigation. Benjamin Fabre, CEO at DataDome, an AI-driven bot detection and management company believes it's becoming harder to defend against bot attacks for organizations:

"While fans lose out, threat actors enjoy a nice payday. By leveraging bots to scalp highly anticipated goods, like these tickets, they're able to resell them for profit elsewhere. Sadly, when earning potential is high from these types of premium brands or events, it creates a greater incentive to build and use sophisticated bots. This is another prime example of why it’s becoming harder by the second for online enterprises to keep up with the level of sophistication of bot activity, which is directly correlated with the value attackers can gain from cybercrime.”



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