The Justice Department wants to 'break up Live Nation.' Taylor Swift fans are ready for it.

Author: Angela Yang with NBC News

Fans attend "The Eras Tour" at Empower Field At Mile High in Denver in 2023
Tom Cooper / Getty Images for TAS Rights Management file

Two years ago, many Taylor Swift fans launched an online campaign with one big goal: break up Ticketmaster.

After news broke that the Justice Department sued Ticketmaster’s parent company, Live Nation, some Swifties said they felt like their mobilization efforts paid off.

“It shows the power of bringing people together who have something in common, and it might not be what you would expect they have in common,” said Stephanie Aly, a writer and digital organizer in New York.

The 34-year-old was among the Swifties who banded together in 2022 to collect thousands of survey responses from fellow fans who shared negative similar experiences with Ticketmaster.

Swifties are "out there getting people to vote in the VMAs and buy albums on release day and all that kind of stuff,” Aly said. “So what if we could point that energy towards something that can make a bigger difference than just album sales?”

Frustration over the ticketing company began to boil over in late 2022 after overloaded presale queues for the domestic leg of Swift’s 2023 "Eras Tour" caused the site to crash and led Ticketmaster to cancel the sale. The fiasco soon drew the attention of Swift herself, who called it “excruciating” to watch. It prompted an apology from Ticketmaster and a promise to grant a second opportunity for some fans to snag the tickets they missed.

For years, fans have complained about Ticketmaster, which has effectively become the default ticketing platform for many artists. Live Nation, which merged with Ticketmaster in 2010, controls an estimated 70% of the ticketing and live-event venues market, though the companies have disputed that figure.

Many artists have also pushed for ticketing reform at a federal level with no luck. Pearl Jam tried to push the issue forward 30 years ago when the rock band’s members testified before Congress, saying Ticketmaster had refused to agree to low concert ticket prices and fees. The case was dismissed a year later, but Ticketmaster’s dominance has persisted over the decades that followed.

But it was the Swifties who proved to be a powerful force in driving the momentum and helping get more people to pay attention.

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing in January 2023 examining Ticketmaster’s dominance in the ticketing industry. During the bipartisan hearing, which probed whether Ticketmaster’s outsize control has unfairly hurt customers, even senators couldn’t refrain from making references to Swift.

Swift fans are “very good at bonding together, using their own time and resources to solve problems,” said Jeff Harden, a political science professor at the University of Notre Dame.

“They’re also very digitally literate,” said Harden, who co-authored a study published in March on how Swifties’ personal grievances against Ticketmaster mobilized a sizable throng of unlucky fans toward taking political action.

He described Swifties as “some of the most intense fans of any musical artist or sports team or anything else that I’ve ever witnessed personally.”

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