Danielle Nykanen Thoughts/Opinions

Ticketmaster’s Swift catastrophe



The recent Taylor Swift, “TheErasTour,” ticket sale has caused me, and many others across the country, a lot of frustration. Ticketmaster headed the sale but failed to moderate the massive demand for the tickets. 

Swift announced the first leg of “The Eras Tour” on Nov. 1 with 27 stadium tour dates across the United States. Three days later, she added another eight shows that were to be followed by an additional 17 the next week. The addition of shows makes it clear how high of a demand was expected. Even prior to the tour being announced, fans were speculating it would be hard to get tickets, especially considering this is Swift’s first tour in seven years. 

On Nov. 15, Ticketmaster hosted the TaylorSwiftTix Presale. Despite following all the instructions, there seemed to be some issues. When I got to the front of the queue, I got an error message and was kicked out. Then, the queue didn’t seem to be moving. 

However, this didn’t appear to be an issue only on my end. “Some fans faced a myriad of error messages, while others endured an hours- long wait in Ticketmaster’s virtual queue, only to find there were no reasonably priced tickets left,” said Laura McQuillan of CBC News. 

In a statement on Twitter on the day of the presale, Ticketmaster said, “There has been historically unprecedented demand with millions showing up to buy tickets for the TaylorSwiftTix Presale.” 

If they were the ones who sent out the codes to access the sale, how were there too many people trying to purchase the tickets? Other fans have noticed issues with their presale code methods as well. 

“I noticed that a lot of people had gotten presale codes. Ticketmaster had said whoever had tickets to her previous tour, which was canceled due to COVID-19, were going to get priority in getting the presale codes, and I know a lot of people who had those tickets did not get those codes,” said Kara Sutherland (‘24)

I thought I would still have the chance to secure tickets at the general sale planned for Nov. 18. This was not the case. Unfortunately, many fans never got the chance to try for tickets as Ticketmaster ended up canceling it.

Following the presale and cancellation of the general sale, I saw a lot of distraught fans in my media feeds. Even fans who got tickets were not entirely pleased with the process.  

“I feel like the sticker price of the tickets were reasonably priced, but with dynamic pricing and also Ticketmaster fees, they got to be really expensive and much more than what people were expecting,” said Sutherland. 

Swift even expressed frustration when she released an apology and statement to her fans. “I’m not going to make excuses for anyone because we asked them, multiple times if they could handle this kind of demand and we were assured they could. It’s truly amazing that 2.4 million people got tickets, but it really pisses me off that a lot of them feel like they went through several bear attacks to get them,” said Swift. 

I appreciate the message assuring fans and that she is aware of the issues that occurred. However, it doesn’t account for the fact that massive amounts of tickets are being resold for alarmingly high rates. 

“I find that the Taylor Swift presales have been worse than I have ever seen before, especially with lots of resellers marking tickets up to $50,000… This was especially disheartening because fans were promised affordable tickets between $49-500,” said Kimberlyn Hollon-Morseau (’23).

Ticketmaster also released an apology following these events. “Historically, we’ve been able to manage huge volume coming into the site to shop for tickets, so those with Verified Fan codes have a smooth shopping process. However, this time the staggering number of bot attacks, as well as fans who didn’t have codes, drove unprecedented traffic on our site,” said Ticketmaster. 

Many fans seem to agree with this narrative, and I had never had serious issues using the platform to purchase tickets previously. 

“I have gotten other tickets from Ticketmaster and the experience was so much easier and smoother than these tickets,” said Kylee Lary (‘24). 

Additionally, the bot situation still raises serious concerns. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Marsha Blackburn are trying to get some answers about it by writing the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) chair, Lina Kahn. 

“Given the numerous high-profile incidents in the online ticket marketplace, it would be helpful to understand how the FTC intends to act to address such conduct going forward,” said Blumenthal and Blackburn in the letter. 

In the end, many fans got tickets, and many did not, which is not uncommon for popular artists. It will be interesting to see how the resale prices change as the current cheapest option is close to $600 for nosebleed seats, excluding ticket vendor fees.

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