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FutureStarrTicketmaster Isn't the Only One at Fault for Taylor Swift Fiasc Tickets
Taylor Swift's "Eras" tour pre-sales have been a real nightmare for fans. Hours-long wait times, platinum ticket pricing and site crashes have left people frustrated and disappointed.
One of the many questions raised is why Ticketmaster didn't have more control over the presale process. Specifically, why did they allow brokers to purchase tickets for resale through Ticketmaster?
Taylor Swift's Eras Tour is set to hit several cities, and the demand for tickets was overwhelming. Fans scrambled to ticket sites and social media to secure their seats before they went on sale Tuesday morning - many staying in line for hours! Unfortunately, Ticketmaster couldn't keep up with all of those eager buyers as lines stretched around the block.
Due to high demand, ticketing sites had to suspend Central Standard Time queues and West Coast times, while Capital One presale was postponed until Wednesday. Unfortunately, many tickets still sold out, leaving many disappointed Swifties without their chance to see her perform live.
As a result, many people turned to other methods to purchase Taylor Swift Fiasc tickets. Some even paid a premium to resell their tickets on resale sites.
Ticketmaster has long sought to avoid selling tickets to scalpers and bots, though the company has not always been successful at doing so. To combat this problem, the company has implemented several changes to its ticketing process such as the Verified Fan program which requires fans to preregister before purchasing tickets. This prevents bots and speculators from purchasing up all available seats at inflated prices.
Swifties often complain about the high costs associated with their tickets due to Ticketmaster's dynamic pricing system, which adjusts ticket prices based on an artist or event's popularity. As a result, some fans become infuriated by unexpectedly high costs associated with their purchases.
Some Swifties lamented the price increases they experienced both during the presale and general sale. Some tickets went for as much as $95,000 on resale sites, while others paid close to $28,350 for their seats.
However, Ticketmaster has defended its dynamic pricing system by noting that it is designed to protect fans from overpaying. While it does add fees for each transaction, most of them go straight to the venue rather than Ticketmaster.
Despite all efforts, Ticketmaster's website crashed repeatedly during the presale period and many fans were left disgruntled and angry. Some had to wait up to eight hours just for a single ticket for the show!
It would seem unfair to blame Ticketmaster for all the issues with Taylor Swift Fiasc tickets. There are other places online where tickets can be sold, and demand for concerts tends to be high, so it makes sense that more people would want access to tickets than usual.
However, there's a more pressing issue at stake here: Ticketmaster holds an exclusive monopoly in the ticketing industry, giving them tremendous power over music artists in general - which explains why some have been fighting them for years now.
Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam and Colorado group The String Cheese Incident have all engaged in legal battles with Ticketmaster over the years. Some bands have even gone so far as to boycott Ticketmaster entirely.
Live Nation Entertainment, parent company of Ticketmaster, has come under renewed fire from US lawmakers after its botched sale for Taylor Swift's Eras tour caused massive delays and website crashes.
At the end of November, Ticketmaster was forced to cancel an upcoming ticket sale for Swift's tour due to unprecedented demand from fans, bots and scalpers. This caused hours-long wait times for those trying to access seats through their "Verified Fan" program; many ended up on waitlists.
Live Nation Chairman Greg Maffei insists it wasn't his fault for the issues encountered, blaming an excessive demand on him. In an interview with The Ringer, Maffei acknowledged his inadequacy in terms of prepping for such demand and lack of expertise in filtering out bad actors.
Maffei and Ticketmaster have been using this logic to deflect responsibility for their incompetence. Not only is it an absurd argument that a booming music market explains their mishandling of Taylor Swift Fiasc tickets, but it also appears like an attempt to divert attention away from more pressing matters.
Taylor Swift tickets sold so quickly that Ticketmaster had no choice but to cancel the public on-sale date for her tour. This created an issue for fans who had signed up for the pre-sale in an attempt to secure seats for her Eras tour.
As the premier ticketing platform for live events, Ticketmaster should have had a better system in place to handle demand from 3.5 million verified Swift fans. Unfortunately, the site suffered when these buyers attempted to purchase their tickets; some users had to wait hours in order to log in and purchase their tickets.
There was an abundance of bots on the site that attempted to purchase tickets for resellers and scalpers. These bots were programmed to purchase tickets through websites like Ticketmaster and then resell them at higher prices on sites like StubHub.
Artists facing this type of ticketing have often had to take drastic measures in order to stop scalpers from purchasing their tickets. These may include requiring fans to show their credit cards, attaching names to the tickets, and waiting 24 hours before sending out any tickets.
These measures are essential, as they shield fans and artists from having their tickets stolen or resold at higher prices. Unfortunately, in the case of Swift, these measures were insufficient to stop bots from buying her tickets and reselling them on Ticketmaster for more than what her fans could afford.
To offset this, Ticketmaster has implemented a high fee on all tickets purchased from their site and then resold on third-party sites. They charge these fees twice: once when the tickets are initially bought from their website and again when they are resold through their reselling platform.
Ticketmaster makes a lot of money from their resale site, but the company prioritizes resellers over customers. This not only benefits them financially but also negatively impacts those who actually want to attend concerts.
Ticketmaster had promised they could handle the demand, yet were unable to do so and faced an outcry on social media from disappointed fans. Thousands were left waiting in lines as Ticketmaster's website repeatedly crashed, leaving thousands stranded in queues.
Swifties who attempted to purchase tickets from Ticketmaster were faced with a line of over 2,000 fans waiting in line, while others discovered their access codes weren't working and had to wait hours before being able to check out. Those fortunate enough to receive codes through the Verified Fan program were able to purchase their tickets promptly.
Unfortunately, despite these fans' best efforts, their tickets were resold online at higher prices. Ticketmaster and Swift's tour promoter Live Nation engaged in "intentional deception" by setting artificially high pre-sale, sale and resale prices on customers.
Third-party scalpers took advantage of these inflated prices, selling tickets at higher prices than what they originally cost. As a result, artists such as Taylor Swift have had to cancel thousands of tickets in the past and ban scalpers from their shows.
Swift's Eras tour marks her first on-the-road since her Reputation Stadium tour of 2018, so ticket demand was expected to be high.
Swift and her team were assured by Ticketmaster that their servers could handle the traffic. Furthermore, 3.5 million fans had signed up for Ticketmaster's "Verified Fan" program, which aims to prevent bots from buying tickets.
Ticketmaster's systems failed to keep up with the demand of millions of fans, despite their assurances. Nearly 15% of interactions on their website were deemed invalid, including pass code validation errors.
Even when the website wasn't down, it could still be challenging to use. Some users had to wait more than seven hours just to purchase one ticket!
Taylor Swift's concert sales have been unprecedented, leading to these issues. But they also point to a larger issue. According to Krista Brown of the American Economic Liberties Project (AELP), which is part of an alliance fighting corporate monopolies and advocating for antitrust laws, Ticketmaster is indeed a monopoly.