Posted on: January 29, 2023 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

Graphic by Emily Stephens

I knew you were trouble when I logged in.  

Nov. 15: Tickets for Taylor Swift’s Eras tour went on sale. Naturally, being the Swiftie I am, I jumped at the opportunity to see her show.

Many fans, myself included, went into the sale that day thinking it would be easy. No one anticipated what was to come. I was ready to be in and out of the site by 11 a.m., hopefully with tickets to two shows. But no.

Something much more infuriating happened, a ticketing fiasco that ultimately led to a Senate hearing on Tuesday. During the hearing, various Senators made Swift-related puns and criticized the company for its handling of the shows I was lucky enough to snag tickets for. Some of my friends weren’t as lucky.

Nic Kowal

Multimedia Editor

Swift was my first concert when I was nine and I have so many memories surrounding her music. I was able to save up for this tour by setting money aside anytime I had some to spare. After sitting in a queue for six hours just staring at my screen, the blue line telling me 2,000 people were in front of me finally moved. 

The physical anxiety I had was ludicrous. I was shaking the entire time I was clicking to buy the tickets. When I finally secured the tickets to see Swift this June, I was ecstatic, but I also had survivor’s guilt. I cried after the experience. It was really overwhelming knowing that I beat out so many of my friends. I felt horrible that we weren’t going to be able to experience this together. 

And this was all because the ticketing behemoth screwed up so badly. Fans were kicked out of queues. Some fans would get to the screen to buy their tickets just to find out they were already sold.

So how did Ticketmaster resolve the issue during the hearing Tuesday? By blaming the bots. Ticketmaster president and CFO Joe Berchtold said that the site was “hit with three times the amount of bot traffic” it had ever had. This bot activity was the reason, he said, that sales were slowed down, causing a “terrible consumer experience.”

But that sounds like a bad excuse. There are very basic measures the site could implement, such as a CAPTCHA, to at least lessen the market and technological strain that bots supposedly caused. This would require users to prove they are human, and the best CAPTCHAs are very difficult for bots to crack. It is a basic feature that a huge corporation could easily implement.

Graphic by Emily Stephens

Or maybe, get rid of queueing and simply have fans buy their tickets and once they are sold out, they’re out.

Queueing seems a good way of making it look like you have a chance for tickets instead of having a show sell out in seconds and thinking you’ll never be able to see your favorite artist.

But it doesn’t matter. The waits are ridiculous, and I shouldn’t have to cancel plans with my friends just to snag a concert ticket. At least without the queue, I would know that I shouldn’t keep hopelessly waiting and risk wasting my whole day for nothing in return.

Another horrible part of the fiasco was the pricing. Tickets were supposed to start at $50 each, making them affordable for the younger demographic. Instead, because of Ticketmaster’s dynamic pricing system, which is based on consumer demand, original ticket prices skyrocketed in an instant.

Suddenly the tickets that were promised to be $50 were $179, leaving fans who were relying on lower prices in the dust, unable to afford tickets at all.

And when you entered the ticket sale page, the seats were going so quickly that the user would constantly be met with the words, “Someone beat you to those seats!” 

Younger concert-goers are less likely to have extra income to spend on tickets, creating a wealth disparity in the ticket market. According to a 2022 survey by Lending Tree, 41 percent of Gen Zers surveyed planned to take on concert debt to attend a show. Those kids should be allowed to enjoy a concert without worrying about their finances being tanked. Not everyone can afford to set money aside for tickets, and there’s no reason why Ticketmaster should allow prices to fluctuate so dramatically. 

Everyone should be able to experience live music. Ticketmaster needs to stop this capitalistic monopoly over the entertainment industry and stop blaming the bots when they can fix their system. Prices should be kept reasonable for young fans so they can enjoy their favorite artists. And we shouldn’t have to feel guilty that our friends can’t come with us to the same show.

Be better, Ticketmaster. Stop constantly being a ticket disaster.