Ticketmaster working to avoid Taylor Swift repeat with Beyonce tickets
WASHINGTON, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Ticketmaster is preparing to sell tickets for Beyonce's first tour in six years in a different way, hoping to avoid a repeat of last year's Taylor Swift debacle.
Ticketmaster, whose fees and sales processes have aggravated bands and fans for decades, came under fire in November when frustrated Swifties battled its website, often unsuccessfully, to buy tickets for Swift's first tour in five years.
The company, owned by Live Nation, is working to verify fans, filter out bots and others that would buy tickets for resale, and temper fans' expectations that they will get tickets for Beyonce's Renaissance tour.
Beyonce, who last toured in 2016, released the chart-topping and critically acclaimed "Renaissance," her seventh studio album, at the end of July. The album, inspired by Black and queer dance music culture and pioneers, is in the running to be named album of the year at this year's Grammy Awards on Sunday.
"Demand for this tour is expected to be high. If there is more demand than there are tickets available, a lottery-style selection process will determine which Verified Fans get a unique access code and which are placed on the wait list," Ticketmaster said on its website. The access code, the company said, "does not guarantee tickets."
Ticketmaster tweeted on Thursday that the demand to register for a chance to buy tickets for concerts in the nine cities in Group A, whose registration closed on Friday, exceeded the number of tickets by more than 800%. Second shows were added in seven cities, including Houston, Atlanta and Toronto.
The North American leg of the tour opens in Toronto on July 8 and closes in New Orleans on Sept. 27, according to the Ticketmaster website. The first tickets go on sale on Feb. 6.
After loud complaints from Taylor Swift fans, the company blamed more than 3.5 billion requests from fans, bots and scalpers for its overwhelmed website. Last month, Joe Berchtold, president and chief financial officer of Live Nation, told a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that he apologized to fans.
On Thursday, the committee retweeted a news report about the Beyonce tour announcement and tweeted to @Ticketmaster, "We're watching." (Reporting by Diane Bartz; Additional reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Leslie Adler)