One week after Live Nation’s new ticket service left Phish fans screaming with rage, Ticketmaster’s computer system malfunctioned during a Bruce Springsteen onsale yesterday morning. Fans attempting to buy seats for Springsteen’s Working on a Dream shows in Long Island and New Jersey got error messages during the 9:00 AM sale. “It was an unfortunate computer glitch that happened on our side,” says Ticketmaster spokesperson Albert Lopez. “It wasn’t our finest hour. [The glitch] lasted minutes versus hours. As it was described to me it didn’t have anything to do with high demand. Ticketmaster.com’s network didn’t fail. This was for specific shows. Having said all that, that doesn’t take away from the heartache fans experienced.”
Despite Ticketmaster’s insistence the problem was isolated to three concerts, fans reported receiving the same error code for many East Coast shows. Fans attempting to buy tickets in the crucial early minutes of the onsale got a message saying the system was undergoing “routine maintenance.” Many fans who did manage to load tickets were unable to complete the transaction — though Lopez says that 95 percent of them have been contacted and Ticketmaster is working on completing their purchases when possible. Lopez says that 85 percent of the 200,000 Springsteen tickets sold yesterday came from Ticketmaster.com. Fans attempting to buy to the Nassau Coliseum today are directed to the Ticketmaster owned Ticketsnow.com resale site, that lists 697 tickets ranging up to $1,605 each.
The incident comes just days after Live Nation’s competing ticket service underwent its first significant test, as hordes of Phish fans hit the site to buy tickets to the band’s anxiously awaited comeback tour and experienced technical difficulties. A Live Nation spokesman told Rolling Stone, “At the moment of the onsale, there were 1 million people trying to buy tickets, and that overwhelmed the system for a minute.” Ironically, both Phish and Springsteen will headline 2009’s Bonnaroo Festival. Tickets for the fest go on sale February 7th.