How Shutdowns Turned Swifties Against Ticketmaster

First-year Lucy Neal has loved Taylor Swift for as long as she can remember. She said Swift is always in her top five most listened to artists on Spotify at the end of the year, and seeing her live during her Reputation Tour was one of the best nights of her entire life. When the …

First-year Lucy Neal has loved Taylor Swift for as long as she can remember. She said Swift is always in her top five most listened to artists on Spotify at the end of the year, and seeing her live during her Reputation Tour was one of the best nights of her entire life.

When the education major went to purchase tickets for Swift’s latest Eras Tour, which is set to begin in March 2023, she didn’t anticipate the lengths she’d have to go to get them. 

“I sat in Mundelein for hours just looking at that little man cross the screen,” Neal said, referring to the icon of a man that shows buyers where they are in the Ticketmaster queue. 

And she’s not alone. First and second-year academic advisor Teryn Robinson said she had repeated issues getting tickets and made it to the point where she could buy her tickets twice, but Ticketmaster crashed both times she made it that far.

Following the announcement of Swift’s Eras Tour, excitement among the singer’s fanbase immediately began to grow. Swifties, the name given to Swift’s fanbase, began posting about their exhilaration online, adding to the growing anticipation. 

Professor Christine Chabot, interim director of the Institute for Consumer Antitrust Studies at Loyola’s School of Law, said poor service and high fees are the two key signs of monopoly harm in the actions of Ticketmaster regarding ticket sales, and that these two things could indicate how it’s acting with monopoly power in the market right now. When a firm has a monopoly, it has “significant and durable market power,” or the ability to edge out competitors and raise prices in light of that lack of competition, according to the Federal Trade Commission

“Ticketmaster’s response is that it does provide a good service and it was just overloaded by the volume of the people trying to buy tickets that day,” Chabot said. “From the flip side, Taylor Swift doesn’t have a ticket-selling platform that she’s happy with.”

Swift is an incredibly popular artist, with over 82 million monthly listeners on Spotify. Alongside the star power of some of her opening acts, such as Phoebe Bridgers, HAIM and Paramore — a few of whom have recently concluded or begun stadium tours of their own — the high demand for tickets was always a clear no-brainer.

Ticketmaster dealt with the heightened demand poorly and left fans in the dark about what had happened without the tickets they had waited for, according to the Associated Press. The ticketing company went on to cancel the general sale, because of “insufficient remaining ticket inventory,” Ticketmaster said in a tweet announcing the cancellation.

Ticketmaster was not available for comment. 

Ticketmaster isn’t unfamiliar with canceling general sales of tickets after presale rounds sold out. The same thing happened earlier this year with K-pop boy group BTS’ “Permission to Dance On Stage” Los Angeles and Las Vegas shows, and similarly, Ticketmaster announced via a tweet that the general sale was canceled.

Live Nation, a firm that offers promotion services to artists, merged with Ticketmaster in 2010 to create Live Nation Entertainment, according to their website. They were allowed to do so under the condition that Live Nation sold some of its assets and the companies would not retaliate against venue owners for not using Ticketmaster ticketing services or threaten venue owners to use their service for ten years, according to a final judgment from the Department of Justice

Live Nation Entertainment was not available for comment.

Ticketmaster is now under antitrust investigation again, however, the current investigation of Ticketmaster began over the summer and is unrelated to the situation involving Swift tickets, according to Politico.

That investigation is the one good thing to come out of this, said sophomore Ainsely Hollender. 

“I just feel like if they weren’t a monopoly they’d have more pressure on them to make their systems better,” Hollender said. 

Because of the new wave of attention bringing light to the past investigations of Ticketmaster, Democratic Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and David N. Cicilline both put out tweets about the situation, calling for the break-up of the company, according to The New York Times

Following an Instagram story post where Swift condemned the inability of Ticketmaster to meet the demands of fans and described watching the events unfolding as “excruciating,” Ticketmaster released an apology through a blog post. The ticketing company apologized to fans of the pop star who hadn’t been able to get tickets and explained the technical side of their inability to meet demand. 

Swifties are reeling from these developments, but Hollender said she doesn’t blame Swift. 

“As soon as it happened people were really expecting her to come out right away,” she said. “We don’t know what her legal situation is with Ticketmaster, and she has come out and said something and I definitely felt a lot better after she said something.” 

The real public enemy that’s developed out of the situation is Ticketmaster. The company has provoked the ire of Swifties everywhere, especially online, alongside the attorney generals of Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Nevada, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer

In regards to Ticketmaster’s monopolization of the ticketing market, Neal said the event reminded her of the corporate corruption that occurred at the turn of the 20th century.

“You learn in your history classes about the effect monopolies had on turn of the 20th century America and how bad it was,” she said, “I just never really thought that monopolies still existed and were detrimental, but they totally are.”

Audrey Hogan

Audrey Hogan