With ticket prices this high, some Taylor Swift fans will only be seeing the artist in their Wildest Dreams.
On Tuesday, hopeful American fans rushed to Live Nation’s Ticketmaster website to try and score pre-sale tickets to Swift’s The Eras Tour, but technical outages, long wait times and limited availability left many panicked and disappointed.
By Wednesday, tickets had been pushed onto resale websites like StubHub for tens of thousands of dollars. Reuters reported some early ticketholders were trying to sell their seats for as much as US$28,000 ($37,430).
Originally priced tickets ranged from US$49 ($65) to $449 ($600) each.
The upcoming tour will see Swift, 32, perform 52 shows across the U.S. There are no Canadian dates on Swift’s upcoming tour, but many fans north of the border had planned on heading south to catch a show — but maybe not at these prices.
Tuesday’s “Verified Fan” presale (a system used by many popular artists) provides special digital codes to certain fans to buy tickets before the general sale. It is intended to deter scalpers and bots from purchasing tickets, though the success of Verified Fan pre-sales is unclear.
Ticketmaster released a statement that claimed Tuesday’s presale resulted in “historically unprecedented demand.” It said millions of people joined the queue to try and purchase tickets.
Though the company said it tried to work quickly to address any technical issues as a result of the overwhelming presale, The Guardian reported that some eager Swifities waited up to eight hours to try and purchase tickets through Ticketmaster on Tuesday.
On Thursday, a Ticketmaster spokesperson told Variety the site’s technical issues were a result of a “staggering number of bot attacks as well as fans who didn’t have invite codes drove unprecedented traffic on our site.” The company claimed this led to “3.5 billion total system requests — 4x our previous peak.”
A new round of Swift ticket presales, for Capital One credit card holders, proceeded on Wednesday with fewer complaints on social media. Some fans said wait times stretched past three hours in online queues, and many left empty-handed when ticket allotments sold out.
Ticketmaster merged with Live Nation in 2010, resulting in control of more than 70 per cent of the primary ticketing and live event venues market.
On Wednesday, Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti said he would investigate customer complaints about Ticketmaster.
Though Ticketmaster has not been accused of misconduct, Skrmetti said at a press conference that a lack of competition could be leading to higher ticket prices and poor customer service, Bloomberg reported.
Democratic New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also criticized the 2010 Ticketmaster and Live Nation merger. On Twitter, she claimed Ticketmaster “is a monopoly.” She said the Ticketmaster-Live Nation merger “should never have been approved.”
Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal also tweeted about the Swift ticket snafu, writing that it “is a perfect example of how the Live Nation/Ticketmaster merger harms consumers by creating a near-monopoly.”
Across social media, Swift’s fans have loudly chided Ticketmaster and the resale market, claiming greedy companies and opportunistic scalpers are taking advantage of the artist’s dedicated fanbase.
Swift released her latest album, Midnights, in October. The U.S. tour is scheduled to start in March 2023 and end in August.
Additional tickets are scheduled to be made available to the general public on Friday, in what will most likely be another online frenzy.
— With files from Reuters
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