“The Great War”: TicketMaster vs. The Swifties

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Eva Rinaldi

Image courtesy Wiki Commons.

Mollie Kearns, Executive News Editor

For as long as she can remember, junior Madelyn Mann has been a fan of Taylor Swift. Essentially growing up listening to Swift’s music, Mann has memories of dancing to the “Love Story” music video in her living room, being completely enamored with the music star. Mann, who attended Swift’s 1989 Tour in 2015 and Reputation Tour in 2018, was lucky enough to secure tickets to two of Swift’s shows at Soldier Field in June of 2023 for The Eras Tour.

“I like that they aren’t just concerts, they’re performances,” Mann said. “The stage presence and the way she incorporates the whole stadium and everybody there is just so cool. Obviously the songs and being able to hear them live is [really special].”

Swift announced her tour on the morning of Nov. 1, and is set to begin its run in March in Arizona. The Eras Tour is going to be a celebration of the songs and stories of all Swift’s eras throughout her career, each encompassing a different album released. In order to secure tickets to a show, fans could register for the Verified Fan system, where codes would be sent out at random giving those with the codes the first chance to get tickets. The registration was open from Nov. 1 to Nov. 9, and codes would be sent out on Nov. 14 in preparation for the sale the following day.

The chance of being sent one of these codes was somewhat slim, and there were also boosts within the system given to those who have purchased from the Taylor Swift online shop, increasing the chances of having a code. For those who didn’t have a code, there was a Capital One presale at 2pm on Nov. 15 where Capital One cardholders could purchase tickets, and then the general public sale would be held on Nov. 18 via TicketMaster at 10am local venue time.

However, once 10am venue time came around, things started to go south. Fans were placed in a virtual queue with an estimated wait time for when they would be let in to pick their seats, but the website crashed multiple times during the day with the high amount of traffic. Fans waited upwards of five hours trying to purchase tickets, but once they were let into the portal, error messages were displayed saying tickets were sold out.

TicketMaster announced that the Capital One sale would be moved to the following day, Nov. 16 at 2pm, due to the high demand. That said, a majority of fans faced the same issue of tickets being claimed to be unavailable.

“I feel like there should have been a much better way, especially for the first presale,” Mann said. “They should have put the codes in before joining the queue or something like that. I know that it wasn’t [Ticketmaster’s] fault that they got so many extra people trying to log in.”

Following the chaos of the first two days of presale, TicketMaster released a statement on Thursday, Nov. 17 that the general sale for The Eras Tour tickets would be canceled because of an “extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand.” Fans of Swift, called “The Swifties”, were outraged due to the sale being canceled and openly shared their disapproval on platforms like TikTok.

Swift posted a statement on her Instagram story on Nov. 18 regarding the situation, expressing her disappointment with TicketMaster as her fans would now not have the chance to attend one of her concerts. Swift said that “It’s really difficult for me to trust an outside entity with these relationships and loyalties, and excruciating for me to just watch mistakes happen with no recourse … I’m not going to make excuses for anyone because we asked them, multiple times, if they could handle this kind of demand and we were assured they could. It’s truly amazing that 2.4 million people got tickets, but it really pisses me off that a lot of them feel like they went through several bear attacks to get them,” as well as “And to those who didn’t get tickets, all I can say is that my hope is to provide more opportunities for us to all get together and sing these songs. Thank you for wanting to be there. You have no idea how much that means.”

Following this controversy, the Justice Department is launching an investigation into Live Nation, the company that owns TicketMaster, according to an article from The New York Times. While she feels bad for the population of fans not able to get tickets to one of Swift’s stadium performances, Mann is looking forward to hearing one of her favorite artists in person once again. Specifically, she can’t wait to sing along to “All Too Well” (10 minute version) and songs from “Folklore” and “Evermore” as they are very different from Swift’s other albums.

“She’s released so many albums since she’s last toured and so getting to hear those songs live with a crowd is going to be amazing,” Mann said.