Arts and Entertainment

Ticketmaster’s Monopoly and Taylor Swift’s “Eras” Presale

On November 15, 2022, over 14 million Taylor Swift fans, otherwise known as “Swifties,” pulled up the Ticketmaster website in an attempt to purchase presale tickets to Taylor’s “Eras” tour. With 10.5 million more customers than expected seeking to purchase tickets, a disaster ensued. In hindsight, it seems inevitable that Ticketmaster was not prepared for the astronomical demand for tickets for Swift’s performances. Despite its guarantee to handle the presale demand, the website failed spectacularly. 

As fans all across the globe waited online for over seven hours to make their purchase, Ticketmaster’s servers crashed, resulting in many would-be purchasers being pushed all the way to the end of the queue. Ticketmaster was completely unprepared for the whopping 14 million fans who arrived on its site that day. 

Although this crash prevented the majority of people who longed for tickets from getting them, Ticketmaster was, in fact, able to sell over two million tickets, which it claimed to be a record-breaking number for a single artist in one day. To make matters worse for the Swifties who failed to purchase tickets, many of the tickets sold were later relisted on secondary broker sites such as StubHub at dramatically inflated prices. As a result of this disaster, the general sale of Swift’s “Eras” tour tickets was canceled. Swifties who wished to purchase tickets to the tour were forced to resort to places like StubHub in order to get their desired tickets. 

The chaos caused by Ticketmaster’s Taylor Swift meltdown exposed the risks of what many believe is a monopoly, i.e. the exclusive control by one company of a particular commodity or service. Ticketmaster strongly argues that it is not a monopoly by citing numerous other event sale companies with which it claims to compete.

Currently, Ticketmaster has a chance to demonstrate a better handle on the selling of Beyoncé’s tickets for her “Renaissance” tour. As all eyes are on Ticketmaster, the company claims to be “making some changes” in terms of the way it will sell Beyoncé’s tickets to the mass crowd. For example, the company announced that it will be dividing cities into three groups, each with its own registration and presale dates, to minimize overcrowding and bots. Although Ticketmaster claimed to have made changes to its site, it explained in advance that many people who sought to buy tickets would remain empty-handed. Demand for the available number of tickets, exceeds supply by more than 800% in the first city group alone. A labor economist at the University of California at Riverside states that while Ticketmaster’s approach to Beyoncé’s upcoming tour is a step in the right direction, these changes alone won’t solve every problem in terms of admission to mass mainstream events. Big music concerts nowadays are more about the excitement of the live event, and less about the music type or genre. There seems to be a “fear of missing out” element that big events in big cities create. As today’s most popular artists tend to hold large events, it has become difficult for ticket corporations to manage their sales effectively. The “Renaissance” tour will act as Ticketmaster’s next big test, and fans will be holding their breath in the hopes that the problems that plagued ticket purchasing for Swift’s tour do not affect Beyoncé.