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Taylor Swift vs. Ticketmaster

By Robert Metzger, Staff Writer

Taylor Swift has officially announced her new tour, titled The Eras Tour. The tour is being promoted as a celebration of her career thus far with artwork showcasing a picture of her from each of her eras.

  With Swift being one of the biggest names in the industry at the moment, it is no secret that getting tickets to the tour was going to be difficult. What nobody expected, was the mess that ensued during her presale.

  Taylor Swift is known to have a close relationship with her fans, and as such, she wanted to make sure that her Swifties were the first to get tickets. She has previously completed a similar presale back in 2017 when she embarked on her Reputation Stadium Tour.

  To obtain a presale code for the Reputation Stadium Tour, Swifties were tasked with various tasks, such as watching a music video, purchasing merchandise, streaming the songs and other little tasks that would separate the casual fans with those who are hardcore. The hardcore fans were rewarded with a presale code, and therefore were able to obtain their tickets without worrying about scalpers.

  In 2019, after Swift released her album Lover, she decided to embark on a tour once again titled Loverfest. Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the tour was inevitably canceled. Fans who held tickets to this event were promised first access to tickets for a future tour. However, this did not prove to be true.

  When The Eras Tour was announced to have presale to the fans once again, Swifties were extremely happy to be able to see their favorite singer live once again. Powered by Ticketmaster, it seemed as though everything was looking good for Swifties. However, it quickly became a disaster.

  Anyone was able to apply for presale by filling out a brief profile on Taylor Swift’s verified fan page. However, fans had to wait upward of an hour to even get access to it; the first red flag.

  Second, Swift’s promotional team, Taylor Nation, decided to email those who are subscribed to Swift’s newsletter saying that they would be boosting their spot in line to receive a code. This proved to be nothing more than false hope.

  Both of these things coupled with those who missed out on Loverfest made it virtually impossible for Ticketmaster to truly see who was deserving of getting a code. They sent out codes to fans in waves, ending at around 12 a.m., before the presale launched. 

Due to the extreme demand, those who believed they were a shoe-in, were eagerly waiting for nothing.

  “I held General Admission tickets to Loverfest and although I understand why it was canceled, I was really hoping to get similar tickets to The Eras Tour, but here I am still waiting for general admission sales,” junior business administration major Rebecca Margolin said.

The day for presale had finally arrived, and those with codes were ready to go at 10 a.m. sharp. The volume of visitors to the Ticketmaster website was unprecedented. According to Ticketmaster, 1.5 million codes were distributed, but over 14 million visitors went to the site for the presale.

  This led to the site being extremely slow. And only half an hour into the sale, Ticketmaster paused all sales until they were able to “control the demand.”

  Fans were incredibly angry as they were stuck at a standstill to what looked like no end. Sales were paused for over an hour and even when the line began to move again, it took a similar amount of time to even access what was left of the tickets.

  “I thought that the sale was going to be quick, hence the point of a presale. I missed out on my entire morning just waiting for the screen to move when it never did,” junior education major Erin Carlin said.

  When fans finally got into their show of choice, tickets were virtually gone already. This made everyone, even those who got their tickets, furious because they felt like they had to fight for their lives. Swift was accused of price gouging, even though days prior she said that she would not.

  “When I finally got my tickets, I honestly just blacked out and bought whatever I saw available. Little did I know, I was purchasing a VIP package that I did not [want], all I wanted to do was get the seat,” Carlin stated.

  Some fans were not as lucky as they went into their venue to only see a gray screen with nothing available. 

“I went in hopeful for a code but after looking at this disaster, I will admit I was relieved that I did not have to suffer the way everyone else did,” Margolin said.

  Swift remained quiet on the situation for a few days before coming out with a statement on her Instagram basically saying that she was upset at Ticketmaster for not delivering on their promise to not only her, but her fans as well.

  She said that she had no choice but to go through Ticketmaster for sales due to their partnership with Live Nation, a company that dictates virtually all live venues in the world and who would be able to book them.

  Fans were demanding their service fees get refunded because they were not given the smooth ticket purchase process they were promised. The disaster made headlines as Ticketmaster fearlessly tried to defend themselves. 

Chairman of Live Nation Entertainment, Greg Maffei, said in an interview that Swift’s popularity is the cause of issues.

  “The reality is, Taylor Swift hasn’t been on the road for three or four years and that’s caused a huge issue,” Maffei said. “We could’ve filled 900 stadiums.”

  Ticketmaster had planned to have general sales the Friday after presale. But after the backlash revealing the shortcomings of their site, it was inevitably canceled.

“It makes sense as to why it was canceled. But at the same time, all I want to do is see Taylor Swift and I don’t know why it is so impossible to get these tickets when it was never an issue in the past,” Margolin said.

  Presently, the presale disaster has been brought up to Congress where an antitrust case is being formed. Questions are being raised about Ticketmaster being a monopoly. As of right now, general sale for The Eras Tour has yet to take place, with no word from Swift or Ticketmaster.

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