- Fans trying to buy Taylor Swift concert tickets were left battling a broken system.
- Ticketmaster had to cancel Friday’s sale.
- The Taylor Swift concert ticket saga is a reminder that Ticketmaster is trash.
It took megastar Taylor Swift’s announced tour to expose something I’ve known for years: Ticketmaster is straight trash.
I don’t celebrate the fact that others have now fallen victim to the company’s practices, but I hope the outrage will finally lead to change.
Ticketmaster had to cancel its Friday public sale for Swift’s upcoming Eras tour after the Tuesday presale caused the site to crash. The presale was supposed to be open to 1.5 million verified fans, but 14 million users – including bots – hit the site and gobbled up the tickets.
“Due to extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand, the public on-sale for Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour has been cancelled,” the website says.
Ticketmaster is not consumer friendly
This has nothing to do with “ticketing systems.” It has everything to do with a company that refuses to protect consumers from its monopoly on the ticket-sales industry.
Even Swift weighed in on the mess in a Friday Instagram post: “It’s really difficult for me to trust an outside entity with these relationships and loyalties,” she wrote, “and excruciating for me to just watch mistakes happen with no recourse.”
It’s no secret to anyone who frequents concerts that Ticketmaster is a master of one thing: helping to inflate tickets to astronomical prices. These pre-sale events open the door for bots to “buy” tickets that are eventually reposted on the site as verified resale tickets – for double, triple and quadruple face value.
It’s a mess, one that Ticketmaster could fix with a tech security overhaul if they wanted to do so. Instead, it’s easier to allow consumers to eat the costs on the second and third market.
In fact, Swift fans found tickets on third-party sites on sale Thursday for as much as $28,000. And I have no doubt once the dust clears, verified resale tickets will be available on Ticketmaster – at ridiculous prices.
Time to fix Ticketmaster
I use the service as a last resort – playing the waiting game for tickets at face value on the day of a show – because I refuse to give my money to a company that is knowingly and willingly trying to abuse me.
Now more people are finally aware. Parents trying to find tickets for their children are outraged. Politicians have taken notice, too. Sen. Amy Klobuchar expressed “serious concerns about the state of competition in the ticketing industry and its harmful impact on consumers,” and Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti said he is launching an anti-trust probe after consumer complaints related to the presale.
Ticketmaster needs to fix this. It’s time.
National columnist/deputy opinion editor Suzette Hackney is a member of USA TODAY’S Editorial Board. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: @suzyscribe