A Taylor Swift fan who filed a class action against Ticketmaster parent Live Nation in the wake of last year’s disastrous presale of tickets to the Eras Tour has agreed to drop her case against the concert giant, months after attorneys on the case said they were engaged in settlement talks.
Swift fan Michelle Sterioff filed her case in December 2022 just weeks after the botched Eras rollout, which saw widespread service delays and website crashes as millions of fans tried – and many failed – to buy tickets. At the time, her lawyers blasted Live Nation as a “monopoly” that had “knowingly misled millions of fans.”
But a year later, Sterioff voluntarily asked a federal judge on Tuesday to dismiss her case. It’s unclear if a settlement was reached, but the two sides reported in August that they were engaged in “ongoing settlement discussions.” Neither side immediately returned requests for comment.
Sterioff’s proposed class action was just one piece of the legal fallout for Live Nation following the error-plagued pre-sale for Eras, which went on the earn hundreds of millions of dollars and dominate headlines as 2023’s biggest concert tour.
After the Nov. 22, 2022 incident, Live Nation quickly apologized to fans and pinned the blame on a “staggering number of bot attacks” and “unprecedented traffic.” But lawmakers in Washington and state attorneys general around the country quickly called for investigations. That included Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), the chair of the Senate subcommittee for antitrust issues, who suggest that regulators consider “breaking up the company” – a reference to Live Nation’s 2010 merger with Ticketmaster.
Days after the incident, the New York Times reported that DOJ had already been investigating Live Nation for months over potential antitrust violations, reaching out to venues across the country to ask about the company’s conduct. Last month, Reuters reported that the probe was ongoing, with federal investigators focusing on whether Live Nation imposed anticompetitive agreements on venues. A Senate subcommittee investigation is also underway, sending out subpoenas last month demanding info about the company’s “failure to combat artificially inflated demand fueled by bots in multiple, high-profile incidents.”
Sterioff’s case was one of two major class actions filed against Live Nation over the Eras ticket rollout. In her complaint, she accused the company of violating consumer protection and antitrust laws, calling Ticketmaster a “monopoly that is only interested in taking every dollar it can from a captive public.”
“Because Ticketmaster has exclusive agreements with virtually all venues capable of accommodating large concerts, Taylor Swift and other popular musicians have no choice but to sell their tickets through Ticketmaster, and their fans have no choice but to purchase tickets through Ticketmaster’s primary ticketing platform,” her lawyers wrote.
Sterioff’s lawsuit claimed that Live Nation has exploited that dominance to charge “ever more supracompetitive ticketing fees for both primary and secondary ticketing services,” including for “virtually all venues hosting ‘The Eras’ Tour.”
But the lawsuit has largely been paused for months. In August, both sides agreed that it would be better to wait to litigate the case after a federal appeals court rules on a separate antitrust lawsuit against Live Nation, which will decide whether the company can force ticketbuyers to resolve such legal claims in private arbitration rather than open court.
The other class action over the Eras debacle, filed by an outspoken fan named Julie Barfuss and more than two dozen other spurned Swifities, remains pending in California federal court. In her complaint, Barfuss went even further than Sterioff, claiming Live Nation had tacitly allowed the kind of mass-scalping that caused so many problems during the pre-sale.
“Ticketmaster has stated that it has taken steps to address this issue, but in reality, has taken steps to make additional profit from the scalped tickets,” Barfuss’ lawyer wrote. “Instead of competition, Ticketmaster has conspired with stadiums to force fans to buy more expensive tickets that Ticketmaster gets additional fees from every time the tickets are resold.”
Powered by Billboard.