Arts & Culture

Ticketmaster Controversy Creates Mayhem For Taylor Swift Fans

Taylor Swift continues to shatter records not only with her most recent album release, but now with ticket sales as well. Swift, who released her newest album ‘Midnights’ on October 21, 2022 has seen more success than any artist this year, breaking records like Spotify’s most streamed album in one day, being the first artist in history to claim all ten spots on Billboard Hot 100, and even having the biggest week for any album sales (CD version) by selling over 1.14 million albums in one week. The album is Swift’s 10th studio album and her fanbase quickly showed their appreciation for her snappy releases by shattering multiple records across the board for Swift. Soon after the album’s release, Taylor announced ‘The Era’s Tour,’ a U.S stadium tour beginning next year. Upon announcing her upcoming tour, she also announced that artists such as Phoebe Bridgers, Girl in Red, Gracie Abrams, and even Paramore will be touring with her. International dates will be announced at a later date. 

Photo of Taylor Swift Courtesy of https://www.wikipedia.org

Not only did Swift break records in the music world, but she also broke ticket sales records, which quickly sparked controversy with the most commonly used site for purchase, Ticketmaster. Ticketmaster is an American ticket sales and distribution company based out of Beverly Hills, California. It is one of the most popular entertainment ticket distributors in the world and is usually the most trustworthy one as well, or so it used to be. Swift’s ‘The Era’s Tour’ presale tickets went up for sale on November 15th, 2022 at 10 a.m ET, but not everyone had access to it. In order to purchase presale tickets, there were special codes to use that launched fans into a queue. On November 18th, the tickets went public. Chaos began. According to Ticketmaster, a whopping total of 3.5 million fans registered for Verified Fan, a program that ensures buyers that the tickets will go to them. About 1.5 million fans received special codes to enter presale, putting the other 2 million fans on a waiting list. Then, the website crashed. Fans were sent into a frenzy, not understanding why the general public tickets weren’t up. Although a total of 2.4 million tickets were sold in presale, it was announced that the general public sales were to be scrapped due to “low inventory.” Now, the only tickets available are fewer than 5% and if you can find them, they’re between $2,000 to $5,000, including fees. Fans are devastated. 

The Beacon talked to a student at SMCC, Jayde Page, who emailed about the ticket sales and her experience purchasing tickets. Jayde was one of the few fans to score presale tickets to the Gillette Stadium show in Boston, Massachusetts on May 19th, 2023. She told us all about what it was like obtaining tickets and how lucky she felt to have gotten such rare tickets. She said, “My laptop did not leave my side for five hours. I was logged into Ticketmaster the entire time.” This is a true, inside look into the great lengths a fan had to go through to get tickets that shouldn’t have been that hard to purchase. There were multiple accounts of fans claiming they waited for hours just to get a special code for the presale. Jayde’s luck was especially on her side on this day,“By 10:00 a.m I had my Taylor Swift floor seat tickets at Gillette Stadium.” Soon after fans purchased tickets, like the ones Jayde was lucky enough to score, the website crashed. Jayde actively watched this catastrophic event, stating, “Ticketmaster said on Twitter, ‘due to extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand,’ tickets for the general public have been canceled on Thursday.” Though Ticketmaster claimed that it was due to low inventory, many people have claimed that Ticketmaster “abused” their power and even speculated that they exceeded the funds they were estimated to get, so they gave up on selling any more tickets. Swift finally put out a statement about the controversy stating, “It’s really difficult for me to trust an outside entity with these relationships and loyalties, and excruciating for me to just watch mistakes happen with no recourse.” She went on to say, “To those who didn’t get tickets, all I can say is that my hope is to provide more opportunities for us to all get together and sing these songs. Thank you for wanting to be there. You have no idea how much that means.” The Justice Department has now gotten involved and a date for the hearing is in the works to put Ticketmaster on trial.

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