Swifties Seeing “Red” with Ticketmaster After Disastrous Concert Presale


Anthony Abrahantes

Millions of Swifties were told that there were 2000+ people ahead of them in the virtual “queue”, indicating the high level of demand to see Swift in concert.

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The controversial ticket sales company Ticketmaster has officially attracted the ire of Swifties, Taylor Swift’s most dedicated fans, with the disastrous presale for her 2023 concert tour that occurred due to overwhelming demand for tickets.

Having recently released her tenth studio album Midnights, Swift is gearing up to go on her expansive 2023 “Eras Tour”. Since the start of COVID-19, she has rerecorded two of her albums and released three new ones. All of her projects were critically and commercially acclaimed, and she has doubled her fan base since 2019. Therefore, one would think that Ticketmaster would be aware of the high volume of fans trying to get tickets and would have planned accordingly. Sadly, the company drastically failed Swift and her fans. The company’s presale fiasco demonstrates the need to reform the ticketing industry and make the concert-going experience more affordable and enjoyable.

In an attempt to ensure that ticket sales would go smoothly, Ticketmaster conducted a presale that allowed fans to obtain seats before the general population. This presale was also intended to prevent bots and scalpers from getting the best seats.

However, the opposite occurred; the company’s website appeared to crash or freeze several times, even before the presale began. Some fans were told they were not “verified” and could not purchase tickets despite the fact that they obtained presale codes. Many fans waited in the virtual queue for four hours or more, only for the site to crash and bring them back to square one. 

“Once I was able to choose the tickets to buy, the seats would disappear when I clicked on them. I was in the queue for a total of five hours,” junior Anabella Rodriguez said.

Throughout that infuriating Tuesday, the company refused to apologize or take accountability for what had happened, stating merely that there was “historically unprecedented demand”. Ticketmaster fails to recognize that it is a multibillion-dollar company that has dealt with the world’s biggest concerts for years. It is clear that their systems are ineffective because fans are now being forced to spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars to see their favorite live acts.

The real root of the ticketing industry’s problems is that Ticketmaster has a monopoly on it. Landmark antitrust laws once prevented powerful tech companies from taking advantage of consumers and eliminating competition; these laws are the bedrock of the modern technology industry but get ignored far too often. Ticketmaster’s merger with its parent company, LiveNation, should never have been approved because it broke its antitrust agreements. In addition, that 2010 merger gave Ticketmaster a virtual monopoly over ticket buyers, acts as big as Swift and the stadiums where they play.

Swift deserves some blame for promising her fans better seat opportunities if they bought her merchandise. This was a blatant cash grab. However, she has no choice but to work with Ticketmaster, since the biggest stadiums in the country have “exclusivity contracts” with Ticketmaster. Swift appears to be furious with the company; she said in a statement that her team asked Ticketmaster multiple times if they could handle the demand. Ticketmaster broke her trust as well as that of the fans. 

“Every step of this experience was difficult and I felt like I truly deserved an easier process. Ticketmaster should have sent far fewer presale codes out,” junior Steffi Sarmiento said.

Ticketmaster’s monopoly on the industry is also problematic because of ridiculous prices. Many popular artists, such as Taylor Swift and Bruce Springsteen, employ dynamic pricing, meaning ticket prices fluctuate regularly to adjust for changing demand. This flawed and unfair system is the reason why seats on the floor for Swift’s stadium tour cost up to $20,000. No competitor can offer any reasonable prices because Ticketmaster controls every major venue.

“Resale values should not be more than tickets’ initial values, because that defeats the whole purpose of preventing bots and scalpers,” junior Moon Anderson said.

It is incredible that Ticketmaster has the power to cancel all general ticket sales when it betrays consumer loyalties every single day. The Department of Justice is currently investigating Ticketmaster, and the Senate is holding an antitrust hearing. These are both steps in the right direction to reform the ticketing industry and hold Ticketmaster accountable. The Ticketmaster and LiveNation merger simply must be broken up so that every fan can see their favorite artist live without ruining their bank accounts and their sanity.