BLACKOUT: Consumers prepared to pounce on $25 discount concert tickets encountered the dreaded dark screen with the Page Not Found message on Thursday when Live Nation’s computer systems malfunctioned at the start of the Concert Week promotion. (Live Nation)

“Huge demand” at root of issue

Live Nation’s Concert Week, the promoter’s annual discount ticket promotion, started off with a giant thud and plenty of angst among potential ticket buyers after the company’s computer systems malfunctioned on Thursday.

Consumers poised to jump on $25 deals among the 5,000 shows eligible for the promotion, many for Live Nation’s 45-plus amphitheaters this summer, received error messages and Page Not Found responses on both the Live Nation and Ticketmaster websites and mobile applications, resulting in furor across the social media landscape.

The malfunction was estimated to last for roughly an hour before both systems were operating properly, according to those attempting to buy tickets.

In an email sent late Thursday night, Live Nation spokesperson Kaitlyn Henrich said there was “huge demand” for Concert Week and it would be inaccurate to describe the malfunction as a crash.

Blogs posted on the snafu and mainstream media outlets such as the Arizona Republic, Indianapolis Star and Springfield News-Leader in Missouri carried news items with screen shots of tweets from outraged fans.

This year marks the 10th annual Concert Week promo. In the past, savvy ticket buyers, apart from the typical discounted lawn seats at amphitheaters, have been able to pluck reserved pavilion seats under roof cover for $25. But at 10 a.m. on Thursday, the moment the promo went live, they were met with disappointment and disbelief on both online platforms.

Many consumers shifted their attention elsewhere before coming back later to both sites to see if the issue was resolved.

Across social media, posts revolved around frustrated consumers discovering they were too late to buy discount tickets that sold out for the shows they wanted to attend after the two sites came back online.

VenuesNow returned to the Live Nation site after it came back up and purchase $25 pavilion seats for the Doobie Brothers/Steve Winwood and Earth, Wind & Fire/Chicago at PNC Music Pavilion in Charlotte, North Carolina.

For other shows such as Sammy Hagar The Best of All Worlds tour, essentially a tribute to Van Halen, folks were placed in a queue to buy tickets for the Charlotte date.

Concert Week specials run through May 14.

For Live Nation, the malfunction was bad timing, considering the Department of Justice is investigating the merger between Live Nation and Ticketmaster, following the Great Taylor Swift Ticketing Fiasco in November 2022, in which a massive presale for the pop superstar’s stadium tour shut down Ticketmaster’s system.

Congress took notice, holding hearings on the matter in January 2023, revisiting the merger approved in 2010 by the Department of Justice. As it stands now, the DOJ is reportedly preparing to file an antitrust suit against Live Nation, Ticketmaster’s parent, alleging the world’s biggest concert promoter has used its dominance in the market to undermine competition for live events.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated.