Why has buying tickets for Taylor Swift been such a nightmare? Fans met with errors, disappointment

‘Live Nation-Ticketmaster is an unchecked monopoly’

FILE - This Nov. 24, 2019 file photo shows Taylor Swift at the American Music Awards in Los Angeles. Swift's All Too Well: A Short Film," premiering online on Friday evening, has fans reveling in the juicy details of a break-up from the pop star's past. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File) (Jordan Strauss, 2019 Invision)

DETROIT – For the second day in a row, Taylor Swift fans flooded the Ticketmaster website, all trying to get tickets for her “Eras” tour.

The U.S. leg of Swift’s tour begins on March 18 in Arizona and wraps up in Los Angeles on Aug. 5. Taylor Swift is performing at Ford Field in Detroit on June 9 and June 10.

The original presale started Tuesday (Nov. 15) at 10 a.m. local venue time. While “hundreds of thousands” of tickets were sold, many people were stuck in a queue for several hours with 2,000+ people ahead of them. People who did get through after hours of waiting were met with little to choose from and high prices.

From what I could see (when I finally got in yesterday) tickets in the nosebleeds started at $109 and started at $749 for the floor. Now people are pushing them for way more than they cost. Those $109 tickets are listed for around $500+ and tickets on the floor are being pushed for between $2,000 to nearly $6,000.

Please don’t buy those overpriced tickets. We already have to deal with overpricing from Ticketmaster through their “dynamic” pricing system. The higher the demand is for tickets, the more they cost.

Those tickets that were $109 yesterday were listed at $119 today. Doesn’t sound like much, but then add on the $23.20 service fee, the $5 facility charge and the $5 order processing fee. Now those tickets that are listed at $119 are $152.20.

People who weren’t lucky enough to score tickets during the first presale had a second chance Wednesday afternoon. Ticketmaster held a Capital One Cardholder Presale for Wednesday at 2 p.m. local venue time. That one went about as well as you’d expect if you suffered through Tuesday’s presale to only find disappointment waiting for you at the end of the queue.

Nearly two hours after the Capital One presale started, Ticketmaster tweeted a list of direct links to sales. The tweet was met with outrage from fans who have faced the same issues as they did the day before.

Does Ticketmaster hold too much power in the entertainment industry?

This mess of a presale raises some questions about Ticketmaster and how much power it holds over anyone who wants to see live shows.

US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted yesterday, “Ticketmaster is a monopoly, it’s merger with LiveNation should never have been approved, and they need to be reigned in.”

Complaints about the company’s hold over ticket sales go back to 1994, according to CNN Business. Pearl Jam brought a complaint with the Justice Department’s antitrust division asserting that Ticketmaster has a “virtually absolute monopoly on the distribution of tickets to concerts.” Their complaints were quietly dismissed and Ticketmaster continued to grow.

In 2009, Ticketmaster and Live Nation announced a merger. The merger was allowed despite a 2010 court filing in the case raising objections to the merger in which the Justice Department said that Ticketmaster’s share among major concert venues exceeded 80%, according to the report. Ticketmaster has disputed that number, saying they only hold 30% of the concert market.

But those numbers don’t matter to the people who are trying to buy tickets. They are left with virtually no other options and forced to pay the substantial fees Ticketmaster slaps onto every sale.

“@Ticketmaster’s excessive wait times and fees are completely unacceptable, as seen with today’s @taylorswift13 tickets, and are a symptom of a larger problem. It’s no secret that Live Nation-Ticketmaster is an unchecked monopoly,” tweeted Rep. David Cicilline, currently the chairman of the Antitrust Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee.

About the Author:

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.