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Ticketmaster: The True Anti-Hero

In the aftermath of what many are calling the greatest ticketing disaster of all time, thousands of Taylor Swift fans are pushing for the end of Ticketmaster’s monopoly on ticket sales. Following Swift’s four-year break from touring and a boost in popularity, her upcoming “Eras Tour” saw a huge demand in November. However, this demand came with several problems. 

In order to access the tickets in the first place, fans had to sign up to be a “Ticketmaster Verified Fan” in a lottery. If chosen, fans would receive a presale code unique to their Ticketmaster account. 

How to Buy Taylor Swift Tickets in the Future - Bloomberg
The Ticketmaster queue paused after several people entered | Photo Courtesy of Bloomberg

Ticketmaster released a statement disclosing how 1.5 million people were sent codes to join the sale for all 52 dates. The company went on to explain that the record-breaking demand “drove unprecedented traffic”. It broke parts of their website as more than twice the predicted amount of people were able to enter the queue, even without presale codes. This resulted in 3.5 billion total system requests—four times their previous peak.

As a result, many wondered as to why people were allowed to enter the queue without a code. The debacle seems to show how unprepared and poorly designed the Ticketmaster system is. Furthermore, several bots were able to enter the website and post the tickets for tens of thousands of dollars on secondary, reseller websites within minutes of the presale. 

Many fans report how they were pushed to the back of the queue, had to wait for hours, had their tickets taken out of their cart, or had a mixture of all three happening to them.  Swifties were left unsatisfied and outraged after their Ticketmaster experience. However, their fury only intensified when Ticketmaster announced they were also canceling the general sale. 

The fans’ anger is attracting national attention. Famous Congresswoman, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, otherwise known as AOC, spoke out on the day of the presale.

“Daily reminder that Ticketmaster is a monopoly, its merger with LiveNation should never have been approved, and they need to be reigned in,” tweeted Cortez.

Additionally, AOC is not the only politician who has shed light on the fiasco. Tennessee’s attorney general reported that they will be launching an investigation into Ticketmaster’s handling of the situation after the office received several complaints. Likewise, the Department of Justice will also be investigating Ticketmaster and its merger with Live Nation.

However, it is important to note that the investigation was not brought forth by the Swifties, but only amplified by them. The investigation was in response to the Biden administration’s antitrust efforts, based on laws that regulate the conduct of businesses in order to prevent unjustified monopolies and encourage competition. 

Eras Tour nosebleed tickets on sale on resale website Stubhub.com | Photo Courtesy of Sabina Pedido

Regardless of what kickstarted the investigations, fans of other artists also seem to be celebrating the backlash Ticketmasters is facing . The ticketing issues go far beyond Swifties as concertgoers of all kinds have frequently expressed the issues ticket scalpers and Ticketmaster pose to the entertainment industry.

Ticket scalpers are the people buying huge amounts of tickets using automated software and reselling them for a much higher price.

“Full transparency, the Swifties are fighting for us members of the Beehive,” said TikToker Simone Umba. 

The Beehive is the name of  superstar Beyonce’s fandom, based on her title “Queen Bee”.

“Giselle’s (Beyonce) gonna announce these tickets by the end of the year, and we might have to go through this,” Umba said.

While some may view the Eras Tour as just an opportunity for Swifties to see their favorite artist, it can possibly prove to be a key event that finally loosens the grip Ticketmaster has on  the ticketing industry. 

Written by Sabina Pedido

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