Ticketmaster to blame for Swift concert turmoil


Graphic by Julianne Cruz

Fans deserve better than a company that doesn’t seem to care about their complaints.

Gabrielle Orringer, Author

At 12am, October 21st, Taylor Swift’s tenth studio album, ‘Midnights’ was released to the world. At 3am, seven bonus songs were released. It was an immediate hit, and made Taylor Swift the first musician to have their songs be the entire Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 at once. It was only natural for Swift’s next step to be the announcement of a national tour, the “Eras” tour – her first one in over four years. Right after the announcement, the world was excited, avidly discussing the possibilities to get tickets. The prospect of seeing one of the most loved and talented artists in pop history left fans ecstatic. However, this wave of excitement turned into one of bitter anger – thanks to Ticketmaster.

As soon as the presale started on Ticketmaster, many people reported rampant technical difficulties. The site crashed, verified presale codes didn’t work, the queue line took upwards of 6 hours, people got kicked out of the website while trying to check out, and more. Swift herself even spoke out in response to the public outrage, saying, “We asked them, multiple times, if they could handle this kind of demand and we were assured they could,” 

The sheer incompetence of Ticketmaster left many disgruntled fans asking why and how this was allowed to happen. Freshman Sophia Burkard was one of many who tried to get tickets and was subject to absurdly long waiting times. She said, “we had to wait in line for about three hours for one. And once we got to the top, everything was sold out… we didn’t get any alerts and it didn’t say anything to us until we got there. ” A company as big and influential as Ticketmaster should not be forcing its customers to wait for three hours – especially when they were sold out. Fans deserve better than a company that doesn’t seem to care about their complaints.

Many rightfully infuriated fans took to social media to express their anger and warn others about the scam. Freshman Ananya Govind, said, “I was just watching on instagram all day as people got progressively more angry.” While Ticketmaster claims only 15% of ticket sales had problems, that is still nearly a hundred thousand people. 

Junior Joanna Wu said, “[Ticketmaster is] the top, if not the only ticket site for the majority of these awards and other events.” Ticketmaster is a multi-billion dollar company. How can a site that is obviously poorly run be so crucial to the ticket-buying scene? The answer is clear. Ticketmaster has a monopoly as far as buying tickets. A monopoly is defined as any company that completely controls an industry, having no competitors. Long-term technology sub James Mole Jr. said, “There have been smaller sites, I remember there was one in Philadelphia that we used to buy tickets from but I think they were gobbled up by Ticketmaster.” 

There is obviously no real competitor for Ticketmaster, rendering it a monopoly. Sure, people can buy marked up tickets on other sites for thousands of dollars more than they were initially worth, but that’s a terrible option, not available to those that can’t spend that much on concert tickets. Govind said, “[Monopolies are not a] good thing because I don’t want to be spending 7000 dollars to get four tickets.” Because Ticketmaster has a monopoly, it has been able to charge insane prices, take insane rates, make an insane amount of money, all while working terribly. 

Ticketmaster previously planned to open up tickets to the general public after the presale. Because of it’s own incompetence, that didn’t happen.  The Department of Justice is currently investigating Ticketmaster’s parent company, Live Nation. Govind said, “I think that it’s about time that something like this happened because Ticketmaster is truly a monopoly and they’ve been getting away with… scamming people for years. And it’s about time that somebody put an end to this.” The fact that the DOJ found the need to investigate this shows how much of a problem Ticketmaster is to the industry. The fact that one company run so badly is in charge of an entire industry is awful, and it’s important that the DOJ is finally intervening.

Regardless of personal opinions on Taylor Swift, most people have and should acknowledge what a terrible company Ticketmaster is. It is an insanely large and profitable company… so why can’t it do the bare minimum (sell tickets) correctly? The sharp backlash and succeeding investigation emphasizes the voices of millions of disappointed and hurt fans, desperate for change. As the Department of Justice investigates ticketmasters’ unchecked and unparalleled incompetence, it is vital that they take concrete action to end its abusive reign.