Ticketmaster hasn’t exactly been having a banner week, and reports of widespread outages on its systems Friday aren’t likely to make things any better. Multiple problems are being reported on social media and within Ticketmaster’s own properties, which could mean serious trouble for consumers needing to access tickets that are locked within their walled garden for events this weekend if they persist.
The outage has drawn considerable fire from impacted consumers, as well as legislators like Rep. Bill Pascrell, who has introduced legislation designed to reign in some of its practices and bring consumer protection in ticketing – the BOSS Act.
“Ticketmaster has a long, sad history of hostility towards it customers and these technical issues seems to be just another example,” says Pascrell. “Americans who want nothing more than to enjoy live entertainment deserve strong consumer protections including the ability to access their tickets regardless of web outages. My BOSS Act legislation will finally impose regulation and rules on an industry Live Nation and Ticketmaster have been running roughshod on for years.”
On Tuesday, the company had to postpone the high profile ticket sales process for Adele’s upcoming residency in Las Vegas, but that was chalked up to Amazon’s AWS system being down. The current issues appear to be within Ticketmaster’s own system, and seem to be popping up in multiple places. Servicesdown.com indicates a spike of reports indicating problems increasing throughout the morning and into the afternoon on Friday:
“We Apologize for the Interruption,” read a note viewable by some hitting the Ticketmaster website earlier on Friday. “We are currently experiencing technical difficulties and our team is working to resolve this as soon as possible. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience. Please check back soon to continue.”
The company itself contacted its resale clients, indicating that the company issues were causing it to take down all resale listings for the time being, due to “known system interruptions.”
Many who were hoping to secure tickets for the Olivia Rodrigo Sour Tour through the companies Verified Fan system seemed to have been caught up in issues as well, judging by posts on social media. Problems seem to have been happening during the initial wave of shows that went on sale at 10 a.m. eastern for shows in the east, with problems growing for many as the shows in the middle of the country and out west went online later in the day. Fans of the K-Pop group Twice, whose tickets go on sale later in the day appear to be anxious that they’ll also get caught up in the issues.
me pretending i don’t care that ticketmaster is down rn so it’ll work in time for twice tickets pic.twitter.com/EtSDGgyB9A
— $ (@brozoneIayer) December 10, 2021
when it’s almost time for Twice tickets and Ticketmaster decided to be down. They had to sell Olivia and Twice at the same date 💀 pic.twitter.com/rYqC93HlPc
— Gabby (@blackstar2396) December 10, 2021
ticketmaster being down is hella funny when you realize it’s 3+ completely different major artists tryna get tickets 😂😂 im talkin to you twice, jack harlow, and olivia rodrigo 😵💫 LOL
— jilly 🦥 (@jillllllly) December 10, 2021
While fans anxiously await the ticket sales and whether or not they’ll be impacted, the real issue is whether or not existing orders for events that are happening tonight will be involved – given that Ticketmaster has increasingly required consumers to accept mobile-only tickets that are locked to the company’s web and application systems, rather than physical or print-at-home tickets. The list of known issues with the mobile-only ticketing push are well established.
Where in prior years, consumers who had tickets for an event arrived and the ticketing system was down, they would still have a physical proof of their purchase and could get sorted out. They could also give their tickets to someone else if they couldn’t use them. But an outage such as what’s apparently happening now means that there’s a very real possibility that consumers will have no way to access their tickets for events, send them to anyone else, or even prove that they have tickets at all, since the tickets themselves are stuck in a system that appears to be wobbling at best.
Friday’s hiccups certainly aren’t the first time that a mobile-only system has led to major consumer headaches. Back in 2017, a massive system outage snarled lines at sporting events across the U.S. with thousands stranded outside stadiums. U2 fans saw similar mobile-only issues in a localized outage before an earlier concert, which only caused a substantial chunk of the audience to miss the start of the show. Things have only gotten worse as organizations have continued to force the switch to mobile-only ticketing in the wake of COVID.
Currently, consumers are required to be offered a “freely transferable” type of ticket (EG not mobile-only and locked to Ticketmaster or AXS or any other specific system) in six states: Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, New York, Utah, and Virginia. Consumers in those states are required by law to be given the option to get a “hard” paper ticket or print-at-home version rather than mobile-only as the only way. Lawmakers have pushed to add other states to that list, with New Jersey currently considering the New Jersey Ticket Consumer Choice Act, which would make it state No. 7 if it passes. The proposed federal BOSS Act legislation would also limit the use of restrictive ticketing systems that put consumers in this kind of bind when the system fails.