Concerts are for fans—Ticketmaster isn’t

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Swifties wasted no time advocating for concertgoers when the Verified Fan Presale for Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour descended into chaos on Nov. 15. 

Because of a monopoly created when Ticketmaster merged with LiveNation, concert-going has become a battle rather than an enjoyable experience. For years, users have complained of hidden fees and poor service from the company. 

It’s especially frustrating when we consider the fees Ticketmaster charges for its “service.” Consumers have no other way to purchase tickets at list price, so the company is free to overcharge on its fees and terrible user experience.

Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan system failed miserably. Bots and scalpers infiltrated the Eras Tour Verified Fan presale, bought up tickets, then began selling them on resale sites for tens of thousands.  

It’s frustrating and sad to see empty seats at a concert millions of people would’ve loved to attend because tickets were bought by bots and never resold. Artists are forced to rely on Ticketmaster to sell their tickets because of contracts with concert venues even though they don’t care about the fans—their customers.

ID verification at time of purchase and banning resale above the ticket’s original price could help combat the issues fans face trying to get tickets. Yet, despite being aware of scalpers and bots, Ticketmaster won’t act because they profit from the way things are.

The unfortunate nature of the class system is that some people can and will pay exorbitant amounts for tickets. Live entertainment is becoming unaffordable to the many and affordable to the few. 

While of course tickets must come at a cost, that cost shouldn’t make live music accessible only to those with tens of thousands in disposable income. This issue highlights problems inherent to the entertainment industry, specifically structures that favour the wealthy and put profit ahead of anything else.

There will never be enough Taylor Swift tickets to meet the demand of her fanbase, but it’s painful to see so many go to bots and scalpers. Businesses are designed to make money, but Ticketmaster’s huge profits come at the expense of an enjoyable concert experience—if you even manage to get tickets. 

Everyone knows Taylor Swift and capitalism are best friends. However, as many have pointed out, if any artist is influential enough to spark action from Ticketmaster on this issue, it’s her. 

This is the same woman who removed her music from streaming platforms and successfully coerced them into compensating artists fairly. Not only does Swift herself hold substantial power in the industry, but her fanbase is among the largest and most outspoken—don’t get between them and tour tickets. 

Ticketmaster is letting down artists and fans alike. Businesses with enough market capital often operate as if they can extract unlimited money from consumers without resistance. Everything has a price but ripping off fans isn’t the only way to profit. 

With so many people having poor experiences, the appeal of concert-going is being greatly reduced. For some, having to go through Ticketmaster to attend a concert means they’d rather just not go at all.

We can’t let corporations ruin the joy and community of live music. 

—Journal Editorial Board

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