On Nov. 15, the presale began for the Taylor Swift Eras tour. This being her first tour since 2018, everyone wanted to get their hands on tickets. The sale was on Ticketmaster, who confirmed that they were more than capable of handling the number of users who would try to purchase tickets. Fans soon found out that this could not be further from the truth.
Breanna Weaver, a lifelong Taylor Swift fan, shared her experience. “I tried to get tickets through both presales, and each time I had a terrible experience,” stated Weaver. “The first day I got in the queue at 9:45 for the 10:00 a.m. sale, and at around 11:00 the website froze and didn’t come back up until between 1:00 and 2:00. By the time I got in at 2:30, the only tickets left were nose-bleeds and VIP packages that cost hundreds of dollars.” She further stated how this not only made her upset because she couldn’t receive tickets, but it also pulled her away from her work day. Weaver had been prepared to buy these tickets for weeks and was under no impression that it would be this difficult.
“The second day I went to the website and couldn’t get into the queue until 2:05 because the website kept crashing,” stated Weaver. “Once I was finally in, Ticketmaster froze the queue again, and once I was next in line the timer changed to one day, 17 hours, 30 minutes, and 26 seconds.”
Weaver was absolutely devastated by this experience along with millions of other fans. She believes that Ticketmaster is 100% to blame for her awful experience. “Not only did you not have to use your presale code to get in line both days, but there were no CAPTCHA tests to prevent bots from getting in to steal tickets,” stated Weaver. CAPTCHA tests are pop-ups that ensure that a user is not a bot by asking them specific questions. For example, the test may ask the user to select all of the images that include a stop light. These tests can be found on almost every website, so it is unbelievable that Ticketmaster would not have the resources to provide a CAPTCHA test before selling millions of tickets.
Ticketmaster has been an issue within the music industry for decades. In 1995, Pearl Jam wanted the extra fee to be $1.08, but Ticketmaster wanted to raise it to a much higher price. So, they ultimately decided to avoid selling tickets through Ticketmaster. Unfortunately, the band was unsuccessful with this attempt due to a lack of financial support, but they certainly brought attention to the absolute control that Ticketmaster has over ticket sales.
New York congresswoman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), called out Ticketmaster on Twitter immediately after the scandal came to light. She wrote, “Daily reminder that Ticketmaster is a monopoly, its merger with LiveNation should never have been approved, and they need to be reigned in. Break them up.” Ticketmaster and Live Nation decided to merge in 2009, which effectively gave the company absolute control over the sales of all live music events. This tweet went viral and showed that millions of people are in agreement with AOC’s statement. She also spoke out about all of the people that are affected by the monopoly. “It affects fans because they are being absolutely fleeced,” stated AOC. “You’re paying way more than just the base ticket price of going to the show, but, additionally, what we’re seeing on top of that is the absolute explosion in the resale market.”
Just three days after the controversy, New York Times Music tweeted, “The Justice Department has opened an antitrust investigation into the owner of Ticketmaster… focused on whether Live Nation has abused its power over the live music industry.”
Hopefully, this does not slip through the cracks of the Justice Department like so many other issues before. Artists should be able to make all of the profit that they deserve and fans should be able to see their favorite artists for a reasonable price, in a stress-free process.
Rebecca Arnold is a third-year English major with a minor in Journalism. RA953057@wcupa.edu.