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Taylor Swift & Ticketmaster Chaos Explained!

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Hofstra chapter.

If only getting tickets to see Taylor Swift was as easy as Taylor making American Music Awards history.

Swift won all six American Music Awards (AMAs) she was nominated for this year. The wins not only give her 40 AMA trophies, but she has also become the top-awarded artist in AMA history. 

Swift accepted the trophies mere days after a majority of Swifties found themselves shut out from snagging tickets to Swift’s upcoming and highly anticipated “The Eras Tour.”

Now that we’ve had two weeks to process, sulk, and wallow in our disappointment with Ticketmaster, let’s discuss the Taylor Swift-Ticketmaster chaos. 

On November 1, 2022 the 32-year-old singer announced that – after a four year hiatus – she’ll be embarking on her sixth official tour, “The Eras Tour,” which kicks off March 2023.

This announcement came shortly after Swift released her highly anticipated 10th studio album Midnights, on October 21. With Midnights, she made Billboard Hot 100 history by becoming the first artist to hold all Top 10 spots on the chart, and for the first time in the chart’s 64-year history, there wasn’t a single male artist in the Top 10.

Midnights also broke records on Spotify by becoming the most streamed album in both its debut day and week, as well as being the fastest album to hit 1 billion streams. It was also the fastest female album to hit 2 billion streams in the platform’s history.

Tuesday, November 15, was the day all Swifties had been waiting for – presale tickets for “The Eras Tour” went on sale at 10 a.m. The demand to become a “pre-verifed fan” was intense, with many “waitlisted.” Adding to diehard fans’ excitement, Swift earned four Grammy nominations the same day.

Eager to see Swift in person, millions of ‘Bejeweled’ pre-verified fans flooded Ticketmaster’s site trying to purchase tickets. However, it took more than crossed fingers and patience for a majority of Swifties to snag tickets. Many fans with verified presale codes were unable to load the site, waited several hours in a virtual queue, and when finally given their turn, many fans experienced frozen pages or worse, a complete site crash which knocked them out and forced them to walk away empty handed and defeated.

Verified fan sign-ups aren’t a new concept for Ticketmaster. Earlier this year, Harry Styles’ “Love On Tour” had approximately 500,000 to 600,000 verified fan sign ups. Swift received an astronomical 3.5 million verified fan sign ups. As if this demand wasn’t crazy enough, Ticketmaster revealed that 14 million fans flooded the site on Tuesday, November 15, “breaking the site.” Ticketmaster was only prepared for the 1.5 million fans that were chosen for the presale, which caused the service disruptions, according to the ticket marketplace.

According to Ticketmaster, based on the traffic the site received on the day of the presale, to satisfy all fans that entered the ticket platform, Taylor would need to perform at over 900 stadiums – 20 times the amount of stadiums she’s playing next year. Simply put, Taylor would need to play a stadium show every single night for 2.5 years straight. 

Presale code-holding-ticketless-fans ran straight to social media to share their frustration, difficulties and disappointment about not being able to secure tickets. 

Unable to fix the ‘Glitch’ in time, Ticketmaster postponed its other presales, reporting historically unprecedented demand and high reports of site crashes and technical difficulties. As a result, the presale scheduled the same day for the West Coast shows, was postponed to 3 p.m. PT Tuesday. A separate Capital One cardholders presale that was originally scheduled for 2 p.m. local time on Tuesday, was moved to 2 p.m. local time Wednesday, November 16.

The Capital One cardholders presale was just as disastrous the next day, with fans spending hours surviving ‘The Great War’ waiting their turn to snatch their tickets, and many experiencing the same site glitches as their fellow Swifties encountered a day earlier.

In some cases, fans that were fortunate enough to grab tickets noticed another glitch following the sale: many tickets now said “obstructed” or “limited” view – details that were not disclosed during the search or payment process.

Fans had one last hope to obtain tickets – Ticketmaster’s general sale at 10 a.m. on Friday, November 18th. However, Swifties’ ‘Wildest Dreams’ were quickly shattered on Thursday, November 17, when Ticketmaster unexpectedly canceled the general sale. 

Ticketmaster issued a formal apology to Swift and her fans following the chaotic ticket sales process, noting “Historically, we’ve been able to manage huge volume coming into the site to shop for tickets… However, this time the staggering number of bot attacks as well as fans who didn’t have codes drove unprecedented traffic on our site, resulting in 3.5 billion total system requests – 4x our previous peak.” 

Following Ticketmaster’s ‘Don’t Blame Me’ attitude, Swift spoke out against Ticketmaster for her fans’ problematic experience in purchasing tickets to her tour:

In the end, fans purchased more than 90% of the ticketing inventory during the presales, 2 million tickets, breaking the record for the most tickets ever sold in a single day by a touring artist. Taylor’s “Reputation Stadium Tour” back in 2018, sold a total of 2.8 million tickets throughout its entire run. 

According to calculations by bookies.com, fans had a 2% chance of being able to purchase tickets at face value during the originally scheduled general sale – there’s a 5% chance you could be accepted into Harvard University. 

The U.S. Department of Justice is currently investigating whether Ticketmaster’s parent company Live Nation has abused its huge market share in the live music industry.

Now we sit and wait patiently for ‘Karma’ to come for Ticketmaster.

Daniella is a sophomore at Hofstra University with a major in early childhood education. She is from Long Island, New York. In her free time she’s either reading, writing, scrolling on Instagram, watching Tik Toks, listening to Taylor Swift, catching up on pop culture, or spending time with her friends and sorority sisters.