OPINION: Ticketmaster and Taylor Swift failed fans

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Emilie Marie Cuevas | The Daily Wildcat

An image of a ticket booth on fire by Emilie Cuevas. 

When Taylor Swift announced her 10th studio album, Midnights, I was ecstatic. I stayed up for the release and the surprise announcement that turned out to be another seven songs. When she announced “The Eras Tour,” I jumped at the chance to sign-up for Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan Program, which allows fans to have access to a presale of tickets for a show they are interested in. 

On Nov. 14, I received an email saying I was chosen for presale and was given a code. I texted my Swift group chat, and my friends decided that I was in charge of getting tickets for my friends and me.

On Nov. 15, I logged onto Ticketmaster and waited for my chance to be able to snag tickets. When I bought tickets in the past, it has never taken so long to get tickets; I waited for four hours. 

When it was my turn to pick tickets, it was a race against time. Since I was buying four tickets, it was hard for me to find that many together. The site said my credit card was not authorized whenever I put tickets in my cart. I tried another card, and it gave me the same message. I was shaking so badly. I had waited for over a decade to see Swift and wanted desperately to go on this tour. 

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I gave up when the site crashed for the third time. I was devastated. I thought I had let my friends down. 

I checked into the site a couple of hours later, and to my surprise, there were still tickets left! I noticed the prices had increased by about $50. I was able to purchase four tickets in the 400 section for $99 each, but each ticket had $40 in fees. 

There were only supposed to be 1.5 million people getting tickets, but Ticketmaster logged 14 million people using its site when tickets were on sale. In the same blog post, Ticketmaster said they did not think all of the fans who got presale codes would log into the site to secure their tickets. They severely underestimated Swift’s fanbase, which is one of the biggest in the world, with a staggering 82.4 million listeners on Spotify. They knew how many codes they sent out, so they should have prepared so much better for Swift’s tour. 

I am thankful that I was able to purchase tickets, but that was not the case for thousands of other fans. Ticketmaster released a statement on Twitter saying they were unprepared for the number of fans buying tickets from the presale. 

On Nov. 16, the Capital-One Presale happened for people with Capital-One cards, which was also a horrible experience for fans. With site crashes, people getting kicked out of their queue and codes not working, Ticketmaster was unprepared for both presales. 

On Nov. 17, Ticketmaster announced they canceled the general sale of the tour, and people were outraged. Many fans did not get a presale code, and if they didn’t have a Capital-One card, they relied on the general sale to get their tickets. Ticketmaster's largest shareholder blamed Swift for their site being unable to handle the traffic the presales generated. 

Swift responded via her Instagram story, saying that the experience was “excruciating for [her] to just watch mistakes happen with no recourse.” She did speak out about the fiasco, but she has the power to do so much more than make a statement on her social media. 

RELATED: OPINION: Taylor Swift releases another great album with 'Midnights'

Swift has been releasing merchandise regularly and released four versions of her album on vinyl and CDs since Midnights dropped. The four vinyl versions of Midnights make a clock when they are put together. On her online store, she is selling CD clocks so her fans can hang up the four versions on their walls. All of her merchandise is expensive but cheaply made. Her first single, “Anti-Hero,” has five remixes and was first only available for purchase on her online store. She knows her fans will buy merchandise and purchase all of the remixes. She is making quite a lot of money this year, and all at the expense of her fans.

Swift is in no shortage of money, and she needs to speak out about how unfair Ticketmaster has been to her fans – if only to not seem greedy.

Ticketmaster has been facing scrutiny for being unfair and having outrageous fees. Scalpers can buy tickets and resell them for thousands of dollars on sites like StubHub, and they know desperate fans will buy them because seeing Swift in concert is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. 

Ticketmaster’s parent company, Live Nation, is now under investigation by the Department of Justice because of its monopoly on live music events.  

I was disappointed in the process of getting tickets and felt horrible for fans who could not get tickets. Ticketmaster needs to do better when it comes to selling tickets for concerts, and Swift needs to take action against Ticketmaster. She should use her overwhelming power to help the fans she says she so publicly loves. 


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Kelly Marry

Kelly Marry (she/her) is a sophomore majoring in journalism and public relations. She loves to read and travel in her free time.


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