Taylor Swift

As Taylor Swift ticket sales go live, fans are reminded of their frustration with Ticketmaster.

Ticketmaster’s homepage was unavailable on Tuesday, ahead of an anticipated influx of demand for tickets to see Taylor Swift’s “Eras” tour. One fan wrote in frustration, echoign the sentiments of thousands of others who were trying to buy tickets at that time. Diehard fans especially feel let down by this inconvenience as it is their favorite artist’s first concert tour since before the pandemic.

chaos surrounding ticket sales is frustrating to fans but not uncommon in recent years. Ticketmaster and its parent company, Live Nation, have taken a growing share of the music tour business, making buying concert tickets increasingly competitive and expensive.

As the demand for tickets to major shows like Taylor Swift’s has increased, so too have the complaints against ticketing companies like Ticketmaster. Fans argue that the fees are too high and that there is no way to prevent scalping. As a result, many fans end up paying top dollar for tickets that may not even exist.

By Tuesday morning, #Ticketmaster was trending on Twitter as fans took to social media to express their frustration. “Swifties” were also trending as many fans came together to support each other during this difficult time.

Some fans reported that the queue had been “temporarily paused,” causing uncertainty as to if and when they’d ever obtain tickets.

Ticketmaster and Live Nation did not respond to requests for comment. In a statement to CNN, a spokesperson for Ticketmaster said the “site is not down” but that some users “may be experiencing intermittent issues.”

In a tweet, Ticketmaster’s Fan Support account said they are aware of the issue and working quickly to resolve it.

Taylor Swift

A spokesperson for Swift did not respond to a request for comment.

“It’s frustrating when things like that happen, because it opens the door for a lot of people who are naive or impulsive,” said Yhara Rivera. “I bought $1,500 worth of tickets on a different platform, not realizing that official tickets weren’t even on sale yet.”

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“It just sucks because everyone is so excited about Swift’s tour.”

‘Verified fan’ experience can further frustrate fans

Ticketmaster created “Verified Fans” to have a chance to buy tickets for popular shows. Essentially, this feature eliminates the possibility of scalpers because some fans who register get the opportunity to purchase tickets before they go on sale to the public.

Ticketmaster provides selected fans with a code and link to the purchase site. The “Smart Queue” Link leads fans to a system that keeps ticket bots out so they can buy tickets. Ahead of Swift’s tickets being released, Ticketmaster reminded fans that no Verified Fan tickets have been sold yet.

Many people will attempt to sell tickets on unofficial marketplaces before they even go on sale, Ticketmaster wrote in an email to fans. The company also stated that codes cannot be purchased and not to trust anyone who is selling codes. Although these processes and guidelines are in place, it has still proved difficult for many people to follow along.

Last year, Ticketmaster’s technical difficulties prevented Olivia Rodrigo fans from buying tickets when they went on sale, leading to much disappointment.

This year for Harry Styles’ “Love On Tour”, influencer Tara Lynn spent $10,000 on TikTok for tickets to one of his Los Angeles shows. She said she had originally bought two $890 tickets but never received them by email, so she settled on floor seats instead.

Rivera’s mistake is not uncommon — for years, fans have warned other fans about Ticketfaster on Reddit. A spokesperson for Ticketfaster did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Rivera said a Ticketfaster representative reached out to her and explained that the site does sell legitimate tickets, but she’ll only receive them after they go on sale on Ticketmaster. She said she did not get a refund, so she’s disputing the charge with her credit card company.

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Some “Swifties” have posted videos encouraging others to buy their tickets on Ticketfaster in hopes of making the process less competitive.

One fan took advantage of Twitter Blue’s short-lived for-purchase verification system by posing as Swift and falsely claiming that the presale date had been moved so that others would miss the actual sale date; however, this account has since been suspended.

As Swift’s ticket release date grew nearer, “I GOT THE EMAIL” began trending on Twitter. Users shared screenshots of emails from Ticketmaster that said “Your invitation to Taylor Swift Tix Presale powered by Verified Fan.” Those who received the email were granted a spot in a virtual line to purchase tickets via code–but not guaranteed a ticket. Un selected individuals quickly bemoaned their lack of code.

Officials pledge to help combat ‘junk fees’

Ticketmaster’s monopoly allows it to charge high fees – in some cases, up to 78% of the ticket’s face value. This was according to a study done by the advocacy group More Perfect Union. Ticketmaster’s dominance in handling major tours reflects a lack of competition for alternative ticketing platforms that can handle crush demand touring events such as Swift.

New York state Sen. James Skoufis, a Democrat who this year led passage of a law to bring greater transparency to the ticket-buying process in the state, said that much of the problem in the ticketing space is due to Ticketmaster’s de facto monopoly.

Taylor Swift

“Everyone except federal regulators view Ticketmaster as a monopoly, and from that come all the bad things that happen when there’s a monopoly in an industry,” Skoufis said.

Customers have also lodged complaints about Ticketmaster’s “Official Platinum” feature, which charges different prices based on customer demand. For example, CNBC reports that tickets to Bruce Springsteen’s upcoming tour were as high as $5,000 each when they first went on sale.

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In response to this news, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight, Rep. Bill Pascrell wrote a letter to Live Nation calling for “much needed transparency to the sale, pricing, and distribution of live-event tickets.”

Pascrell stated in August that the verified pre-sale of tickets each morning has been a large source of stress and frustration for our constituents. They see tickets being sold on the primary marketplace website, only for them to reappear at higher prices moments later.

Ticketmaster said in a statement that prices are set by promoters and artists, not the company. This fee situation has gotten the attention of White House officials. Last month, President Joe Biden announced he would begin cracking down on junk fees, which are often hidden from consumers when they search for a ticket or added after purchase.

In his statement, Biden noted that these junk fees put a financial strain on many Americans every year and unfairly add to their burdens. He continued by saying that his administration is already taking steps to eliminate the problem, with the Federal Trade Commission working on a new rule concerning how companies charge for these services. Live Nation reacted positively to this news, releasing their own statement commending President Biden’s advocacy in regards to fee transparency.

If you want to avoid the Ticketmaster homepage during sales for artists like Taylor Swift, use the link provided to you in a text message. This will optimalize your shopping experience according to their tweet on Tuesday. However, some fans are still doubtful of its efficiency as seen in this reply: “Has anyone actually been able to get tickets??”

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