Not ‘Ready For It’

Many fans left without means to purchase tickets to Taylor Swift concert

Staff Editorial

Over a million Taylor Swift fans anxiously logged into their computers the morning of November 15, hoping to secure tickets to the highly anticipated Eras Tour. These lucky fans had been granted access to the Verified Fan pre-sale, which served to ensure fans got tickets over bots and scalpers. While fans expected to quickly select the best seats they could find and check out, most of their days could not have gone more differently.

Shoppers were met with challenges including multi-hour queues, site crashes, glitches, and a total delay of sales. Ticketmaster cited “unprecedented demand” and subsequent site traffic as the reason for this plethora of issues, although fans were quick to point out that, being the ones who sent out the pre-sale codes, Ticketmaster should have known exactly how many people to expect. When the tickets were finally available to buy, they went quickly. By that evening, seats were few and far between. After the next day’s Capital One pre-sale, they were practically gone.

Fans who were unable to purchase tickets on Tuesday, or who were not granted access to pre-sale, set their hopes on Friday’s general sale, anxiously awaiting access to the next round of tickets. Unfortunately, on Thursday night, Ticketmaster announced that they had canceled the sale, due to “insufficient remaining ticket inventory”.

These events left fans feeling let down and frustrated, and they quickly took to social media to voice their disappointment, saying the user experience was terrible and the outcome disheartening. Even Taylor Swift herself shared a statement via Instagram stating that the situation was unacceptable, as Ticketmaster had assured her they could handle the demand.

“How could this possibly have gone so poorly?” Some may ask. The answer is simple. Since merging with their parent company, Live Nation, Ticketmaster has had virtually no competition in their industry, meaning they don’t have to be innovative, constantly finding new ways to offer the best service possible, in order to keep their customers. In simple terms, they have a monopoly.

For this reason, the situation has drawn the attention of many politicians, including members of congress, and the Department of Justice has launched an investigation on Live Nation. Their goal is to determine whether or not the company has abused its power in the music industry by failing to provide an acceptable experience for customers and performers. 

While the date of the hearing has yet to be announced, one can assume it will deal heavily with antitrust law, a collection of (largely) federal laws that dictate how businesses conduct and organize themselves, and aims to promote competition. Many have accused Ticketmaster of being in violation of said laws. With antitrust laying the groundwork for the decision, this case has the potential to be highly influential in the ticket industry, affecting not only Swifties, but anyone who enjoys attending concerts. 

As a whole, the ticketing industry is in desperate need of reform. Exceptionally long waits, extremely stressful buying experiences, and skyrocketing prices aren’t acceptable in almost any other industry, so why should they be tolerated when it comes to ticketing?

The best thing for both artists and fans would be to have an alternative service provider. If we had more options, we could choose the company that would work best for us. Additionally, the competition would motivate companies to provide the best services possible, potentially at lower prices, in order to secure more customers.

While discussion regarding Ticketmaster’s practices has been going on for a while, the Taylor Swift situation, while unfortunate, has proved to be the catalyst we needed to finally inspire some sort of real change. Perhaps, the immense coverage of the situation will inspire someone to come up with a more innovative way to sell tickets.In the current market, a new company may have a fighting chance against Ticketmaster, perhaps even overtaking them in popularity, similar to how Zoom took down Skype. 

With the fate of the ticketing industry up in the air, only time will tell where we go from here.