Ticketmaster Turmoil | Sophie Sills
9:59. My focused, unwavering gaze glued to the screen of my computer, fingers on the trackpad, ready to spring into action. The tension in the room was tangible. My friends and I looked at one another in anticipation, counting down the seconds.
The clock struck 10. The system crashed.
Taking a step back, it was the morning of Monday, November 14, 2022. After a long four years, superstar Taylor Swift was selling tickets for her first tour since 2018. About two weeks prior, Swift posted a link to apply for presale status, which enabled fans early access to these coveted tickets. Fans could click to apply, placing them in a queue with millions of others anxious to claim a spot at The Eras Tour. A short time later, fans were notified whether or not they received presale status. It ended up that a whopping 3.5 million people registered for verified fan presale, and about 1.5 million ended up receiving presale status. Unfortunately however, this meant that the majority of applicants were left to fight for their place at her tour in the general selling round, which would come to hurt them more than they ever could have expected.
There were three rounds in which fans could purchase tickets
Round I- Verified fan presale
This round, as previously discussed, was open only to fans who applied for presale and were selected, receiving a special code that they could use to buy tickets on November 14, 2022.
Round I- Capital One Presale
This round was open to Capital One credit card holders, and took place on November 16, 2022.
Round III- General ticket sales
This was the round in which tickets were open to anyone in the general public.
As said before, ticket sales for the verified fan presale round took place on November 14 at 10:00AM. Things didn’t quite run smoothly, however. Although Ticketmaster had previously assured Taylor Swift and her team that they would be able to manage the large demand for tickets, they failed to do so. As a result, the website crashed, leaving fans confused and disappointed. In the end, the presale round was moved to 3:00 that day, allowing Ticketmaster to deal with the problems they previously encountered. But when fans finally got to buying their tickets, they faced multiple obstacles—from fees to impossibly long wait times and the site seemingly “leading them on”. Worst of all, many had to go through all of this trouble and did not even end up with tickets.
From what I can tell, the Capital One presale round proceeded without an excess of drama, but of course many more fans rushed to buy tickets. Overall, a whopping 14 million people showed up to the two presale rounds, with a lucky two million securing a place at the tour.
Unfortunately however, terrible news was yet to come. Due to unprecedented demand for tickets and an unexpectedly large quantity of tickets sold in presale (to both people and an unchecked number of bots and resellers), Ticketmaster announced that they would be canceling general ticket sales. Now, those who did not get tickets in presale were forced to choose one of two options: to not attend the tour, or to buy from a reseller (for which prices ranged from $700 for nosebleed seats and $4,500 for spots on the floor. Two days after the fact, Swift released a statement stating that in this process, Ticketmaster betrayed the trust of her and her team, and that she will try to add more opportunities for fans to see her, perhaps hinting at an addition of more tour dates. Understandably so, many are still left enraged and unsatisfied.
This fiasco has left us to consider the true power of Ticketmaster over the concert ticket industry, many flagging it as a monopoly and a violation of antitrust laws. Since the 2010 Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger, the corporation controls an estimated 60-80% of the market for major concerts and events, meaning that they have seemingly unchecked power over the industry and unsuspecting consumers. Although the companies assured that the merger would help ticket prices decrease, prices have more than tripled since, and Ticketmaster continues to impose unnecessary fees, inflated prices, and almost warlike ticket purchasing processes on fans, among other manipulative tactics. On the bright side however, this recent series of events has shed light on these unfair practices, and the company will likely be subject to future investigation and review. So now, all we can do is wait, and hope that justice is eventually served.