Taylor Swift's 'Car Accident Lawyer' Plans to Take Down Ticketmaster (2023)

Jennifer Kinder is what we could call a character. The Dallas lawyer responds to my call with an exclamation: "Oh, I love your accent!" before going straight to explodepor Taylor SwiftLondon Boy song: "Like a child when our eyes meet baby I like you." The 56-year-old Texan told me that she is essentially a "car accident attorney"; from a television dramaBetter call Saul– and also deals with accidents at work, so-called slips and falls, as well as dog bites at the Kinder Law firm.

But now Kinder is showing its teeth. On March 27, a Los Angeles courthouse is the scene of the opening salvo in what could be the decisive case of her career. More importantly, this could have ramifications for the entire global entertainment industry. Kinder is hiring giant Ticketmaster on behalf of hundreds of Taylor Swift fans, known as Swifties, who feel they've been treated unfairly.when they tried to buy ticketsfor the 52nd meeting of the superstarsTravel the Ageslast november.

This could be the music industry's Erin Brockovich moment: the famous case from the mid-1990s when a small-time legal clerk took over a large utility on behalf of an entire city and won. The children are ready to fight. "It is going welllowlike WWE. is indolowMonday," she says.

The hearing in the court for the Central District of California is called a status conference. Nothing essential is decided; includes technical and legal arguments. But there will be an opening shot in this fascinating David vs. Goliath battle. The case relates to the release of "pre-sale" (for fans) tickets late last year for Swift's tour, which began earlier this month. Demand was so great that Ticketmaster's website crashed, people queued for hours, and general chaos reigned. Legions of Swifties left empty-handed, with some losing money as they watched helplessly as inflated tickets appeared on secondary ticketing sites. Even Swift, who has nothing to do with the case, said the mess was "unbearable" to watch.

Kinder acts on behalf of more than 320 Swifties. This is not a class action lawsuit, it is not seeking individual damages on behalf of the fans. Instead, it's a case called a "cause of action": it seeks to give individual plaintiffs the right to individual jury trials and individual Ticketmaster damages. She hopes this is the start of a grassroots movement leading to the dismantling of what she believes is the company's stranglehold on the live music industry. “Collective action is not effective. Ticketmaster has to be processed repeatedly for each ticket sale,” says Kinder.

(Video) Taylor Swift vs. Ronald Reagan: The Ticketmaster story

She expects this to snowball: She says it has the Beyoncé and BTS lawsuits itching for more action. "The Swiftie group will be the test pilot," she says. To give this week's hearing maximum impact, and get maximum media coverage, the Children's Coalition hosted a Taylor Swift dance party at a Santa Monica bar on the Sunday night before the case began. That day there will be a "Take Down Ticketmaster" demonstration with heavy banners in front of the courthouse.

Kinder says that "it's not about money, it's about change." (I don't know what kind of damage the Swifties want, but I do know that they care far more about the burning injustice of not seeing their idol perform than money.) Kinder outlines for me what his specific legal arguments will be when the time comes. Fan experiences with Ticketmaster, owned by the world's largest concert company, Live Nation, are alleged to have pointed to a possible pattern of fraudulent behavior and antitrust violations. ) by the company.

Fraudulently, Kinder will argue, believing that Ticketmaster allowed secondary "reseller" sites and third-party "bots," which are automated computer programs that act as agents for reseller sites, to purchase tickets. Those tickets have been resold for multiples of their face value, and Ticketmaster charges resale fees, she says. And she will argue that it is anti-competitive because Live Nation and Ticketmaster are a monopoly.

(Video) NC AG investigating Ticketmaster after Taylor Swift ticket sale cancelled

This point is hard to deny. Together they control about 70% of the US ticket and live performance market, with a large international presence. Kinder will also accuse Ticketmaster of negligence and misrepresentation, as the fans in question were "verified fans" who reasonably assumed they would get tickets (so big was the mess that Swift tickets never went on sale in general).

Ticketmaster has been asked to comment on these specific allegations. In a post-sale blog post (later deleted), Ticketmaster blamed overwhelming demand for the collapse. He said he received a staggering 3.5 billion unique ticket requests, four times the previous peak. On its blog, Ticketmaster also said that a record 3.5 million verified fans had signed up for pre-sale in the United States. They planned to invite 1.5 million of them to buy tickets while the other 2 million were put on a waiting list. But the bots got involved, as did a host of unverified fans. The bots, Ticketmaster seemed to say, are actually part of the problem.

Kinder believes that the fans deserve better. “This is really about the consumers. It's about live entertainment and our expectations in this county of how it should be," the attorney said. She says a Swiftie applicant, thinking she had gotten the tickets, tried to visit the site 41 times. She never received the tickets, but was billed $14,000.

Meanwhile, a Beyoncé fan contacted Kinder last week and said it was cheaper to fly to Sweden to see her idol (flight and hotel included) than to see her in her own hometown in the United States. To understand what happened to Swift, Kinder's team will fight for access to Ticketmaster's vital computer data starting in November. "We believe that Ticketmaster will try to pay, or fight us in court, any amount of money to prohibit us from having it." We won't stop until we have all the forensic data showing everything that happened that day,” she says. This look under the hood can be crucial.

(Video) Taylor Swift's Ticketmaster disaster | Nightline

The storm clouds are already gathering over Ticketmaster. Late last year, news broke that the all-powerful US Department of Justice had opened an antitrust investigation into the 2010 merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation, which created the giant Live Nation Entertainment. The investigation examines whether Live Nation has abused its power in the live music industry.

Last week, Robert Smith, 63-year-old lead singer of the British band The Cure,forced the company to partially refund the feesPeople who purchased tickets for the band's upcoming US tour will be charged a refund of either $10 or $5 depending on the tickets purchased. He was widely hailed as a hero. “I love Robert Smith for trying to keep this issue of Ticketmaster alive and I love that a band that was popular when I was in college is now on the front pages and killing them,” says Children. "It's $10 or $5, damn, that's more than anyone's ever been given before, right? That's impressive."


– ROBERTO SMITH (@RobertSmith)March 16, 2023

And Swift's action is part of a wave: Ticketmaster's campaign is backed by a coalition of activist groups including Eat Predators, which seeks reforms in the entertainment industry, and Justice for Britney, which supported singer Britney Spears. in his successful legal battle. terminate her guardianship. Ticketmaster is under attack from all sides: from the Justice Department and from the grassroots.

But Ticketmaster's punishment is far from a done deal. Live Nation has a lot of money and powerful lawyers. Last month, Live Nation hired one of its longtime outside advisers, a veteran antitrust lawyer named Dan Wall, as executive vice president of corporate and regulatory affairs. In January, it was reported that Live Nation's spending on lobbying in Washington and elsewhere had risen from around $250,000 in 2018 to nearly $1.3 million in 2021.

(Video) Taylor Swift fans crash Ticketmaster attempting to get Eras Tour tickets

But this is a fight Kinder truly believes he can win. His colleague Griffin McMillin almost got a job with the antitrust division of the Department of Justice. And the plaintiffs of him “are the most interesting, hard-working, hard-working, tax-paying people, they are really committed to this movement.” Kinder financed the case himself; It will cost around $300,000. If he wins, the money will be returned to him. If she loses, no.

Still, do you realize what a great battle this is between David and Goliath? "It wouldn't be the first time I've heard that analogy," she laughs herself before pausing. "But you know, what should I teach my daughter? My daughter wanted to go to the concert. She was on the waiting list, I couldn't get tickets. What are we teaching our children if we don't teach them to stand up for what we think is an injustice? I teach them well, you know, it's Ticketmaster, so we have to pay $2000 for a ticket? Is that what I'm showing you? Another steely pause. "I'm not going to teach you that."


1. Taylor Swift ticket sale problems spark widespread criticism of Ticketmaster
(PBS NewsHour)
2. Kari Lake Questions Election Results & Taylor Swift Crashes Ticketmaster | The Daily Show
(The Daily Show)
3. INTERVIEW: Taylor Swift fans sue Ticketmaster
(WFSB 3)
4. Lawyer REACTS to Ticketmaster and Taylor Swift Drama
(The Hollywood Attorney)
5. Taylor Swift fans rally together to sue Ticketmaster after ticket sales issues
(12 News)
6. Ticketmaster cancels next Taylor Swift concert ticket sale
(CBS 8 San Diego)
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