Taylor Swift fans have bad blood with Ticketmaster


Kianna Young

Purchasing tickets was a rollercoaster for fans, who report confusing queues and inconsistent dynamic pricing. A few days later, fans received the news that general sales would be cancelled.

When Taylor Swift announced her first tour since 2018, her post garnered over 5.6 million likes as of Nov. 26, 2022. But Ticketmaster, the site responsible for all but two of the stadium venues, crashed, letting down fans worldwide.

Through an email sent out to customers after preregistering, Ticketmaster stated weeks before the sale that they expected demand for the tour to be “overwhelming,” but their site was not able to handle the 3.5 billion system requests that they received that day, which was four times their previous peak.

Tickets for Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour were scheduled to go on sale in three phases: Verified Fan Presale on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at 10 a.m. local venue time, an exclusive deal for Capital One cardholders in the afternoon, and General Sale on Friday, Nov. 18, all through Ticketmaster.

When the morning of the presale came, hundreds of thousands of fans in Eastern, Mountain, and Central time were kicked out or moved to the back of queues after receiving error messages and waited hours only to be glitched out of the site. Ticketmaster eventually paused the queue in order to stabilize their systems. Fans flocked to Twitter and TikTok to figure out what was going on and communicate with other fans. 

I don’t think Ticketmaster sees this as a catastrophe. They sold 2.4 million tickets and got to add all of their fees – they succeeded. Yes, millions of Taylor Swift fans are upset, but they have nowhere else to go for tickets.”

— David Dayen

At around 10 a.m. PST, Ticketmaster announced on Twitter that they would be pushing the presale for the west coast tour dates to 3 p.m. the same day and the Capital One sale to the next day. 

“My mom was online for what would have been the 10 o’clock sale, and she was waiting in line, so it was a little bit disappointing when it got canceled,” said Asha Mehta, a Carlmont sophomore.

In a statement by Ticketmaster, they said that they had given out 1.5 million presale codes to the over 3.5 million people that preregistered for presale — their largest registration in history. 

“I think they could’ve done a lot of things differently,” said Luana Tellez, another sophomore at Carlmont. “Especially with how they planned the codes out; they sent out way too many codes.” 

A History of Ticketmaster Infographic by Kianna Young

A day before the general sale was set to take place, Ticketmaster made a Twitter announcement that, because of “extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand,” the public on-sale scheduled for the next day was canceled.

“When I clicked on some seats, they were ridiculous prices like $2000. I just got the impression that there were some prices that I saw that were higher than what was advertised,” said Andreas Kraemer, a Carlmont parent who bought tickets for his child.

Along with dynamic pricing, Ticketmaster is well-known for imposing service fees that can be as high as 78% of the original price, according to TIME

Ticketmaster’s ability to demand these service fees is enabled by their monopolization of the industry after acquiring competing ticketing and promoting companies since the 1990s, according to their site.

“Ticketmaster controls around 80% of all ticketing for live events in the United States. It’s one of two companies controlling most of the nation’s major venues and music festivals. It owns over 200 venues and exclusively promotes over 500 artists,” said David Dayen, the author of “Monopolized: Life in the Age of Corporate Power.”

In 2010, Live Nation and Ticketmaster merged into one company with the approval of the Department of Justice, even with concerns about how it potentially threatened antitrust policies, according to a 2010 New York Times article.

The Justice Department has launched an antitrust investigation into Live Nation that has been in the works for months and predates Taylor Swift’s presale, according to the New York Times.

“President Biden has assembled a much stronger group of antitrust officials at the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission, and they have attempted to restrain further concentrations of corporate power,” Dayen said. “Hopefully, we will see more of that in the future.”