Ticketmaster’s servers and back end collapsed today under the strain of demand for all of Adele’s North American tour dates, which went on sale simultaneously, leaving many fans unable to buy tickets. Adele fans quickly turned to social media to vent, share weird error messages, and try to understand what went wrong:
The problems encountered by users come from the fact that–in a concerted marketing decision–tickets for all of Adele’s shows went on sale at 10:00 a.m. local time. Instead of breaking up sales for Adele’s more than 50 concerts on the tour into separate availability windows, tickets for the 38 shows Ticketmaster sold primary ticket sales for were released on the same day over the course of three hours. This appears to have overloaded Ticketmaster’s servers and e-commerce back end, leaving scores of buyers out in the cold.
This isn’t the first time that Ticketmaster–often reviled for its hefty service charges and near-monopoly on the ticket-sales market for many events–has had problems meeting demand. The company, which is part of larger entertainment conglomerate Live Nation, settled with the FTC in 2010 in a dispute over technical errors on the company’s site forcing Bruce Springsteen fans to buy more expensive tickets from resellers.
Update: In an email to Fast Company, a Ticketmaster representative stated “Our servers did not crash. We sold out within the hour for each on sale and for the vast majority of our fans our site performed well, but we did experience periods of time where performance slowed down due to high demand.”
[Editor’s note: This body of this article has been updated to reflect that Ticketmaster sold primary tickets to 38 dates of Adele’s North American tour.]