by Emma Rouine

After the announcement of the European leg of the Eras tour, fans’ excitement was soon overshadowed. This was due to the impending fear of the Ticketmaster sales. The ticket handling of Swift’s tour proves that the ticketing giant has taken the enjoyment out of booking concerts for the benefit of their own financial gain.

Chart-topping Taylor Swift has announced The Eras Tour is coming to Europe. The tour kicked off last March in Glendale, Arizona. It pays homage to each era of Swift’s discography, as the tour name suggests. The show has been labelled as “The Most Legendary of Her Generation” and has been hugely anticipated. Therefore, there is immense relief for international fans after the announcement of the new leg of the tour.

The US Ticketmaster Fiasco

However, what is not an immense relief is the disastrous ticket sales facing European fans. American Swifties took to social media last November as Ticketmaster fell into pure chaos. Fans were left devastated when they were left without tickets to the tour’s opening leg. A Ticketmaster tweet left fans shocked announcing that, “Due to extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand, tomorrow’s public on-sale for Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour has been cancelled.”

This meant that this fan-verified pre-sale was the general sale, unknown to the fans at the time. Everyone wanted to get their hands on these tickets. The Ticketmaster fan-verified sale was to help in this. However, the term “fan” in this title is questionable. It is only verifying that you’re not a bot and a ticket scalper. It does not test the hopeful concert attendees’ swiftie knowledge. Ticketmaster cannot force people to recite the lyrics to the “Death By A Thousands Cuts” bridge. However, it raises the question: how is it fair that deserving fans got waitlisted in this “fan-verification process”? Meanwhile, others who only knew her main hits such as “Love Story” and “Shake it Off” secured sale codes…

Price is a huge issue too as ticket prices continue to climb. Resell sites such as Stub Hub were selling tickets for up to a staggering $22,700.  Again, this exploits fans who are desperate to see her. More importantly, it leaves behind fans without the financial means to purchase these coveted tickets. According to Forbes, as a result of the Ticketmaster merger with the US multinational entertainment company Live Nation 12 years ago, “consumers are paying more money for a much worse ticket buying experience.” 

Has there been an improvement for European ticket buyers?

Ticket sales took place earlier this month, and while there was still difficulty, most fans had more success. People have praised Taylor Nation (Taylor’s team) along with Ticketmaster UK and Ireland for having an exclusive album presale ahead of the fan-verified sale. Fans signed up for the UK and Ireland presale last autumn by pre-ordering Taylor’s recent album Midnights. There was little advertisement for this online, ensuring only fans would be able to spot this announcement. Therefore, these fans earned their well-deserved code. They did not fear getting waitlisted through the “fan-verification” system. 

As a result of this presale, multiple UK fans have found success with one fan stating that the presale was one of “the easiest times I’ve ever tried to get tickets.” AXS was the ticket provider for the UK and from personal experience, this made a huge difference. I successfully secured tickets for Dublin through the Midnights’ album presale. AXS is not a ticket provider in Ireland. Therefore, Irish swifties were left with Ticketmaster. It was one of the most stressful concert-buying experiences I have ever endured. I was kicked out of the online queuing system numerous times. I can guarantee that the only reason I got the tickets was due to the presale. The system was overloaded as it was. If there was only the verified general fan sale operating for Dublin, it would have been an impossible task.

This fear became a reality for people trying for other dates in mainland Europe. These dates only had the one verified general fan sale implemented. Ticketmaster France had to shut down for a short duration, announcing on Twitter, “The 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Eras Tour for Paris La Défense Arena has been put on hold. We will keep you posted with a new on-sale time as soon as possible,” According to Variety, more than 700,000 were in the queue at one point. 

“Hi, I’m the problem, it’s me”: yes Ticketmaster, you are the problem

Globally, Ticketmaster has monopolized the provision of concert tickets. Therefore, this is why we see them continuously see them exploiting concert attendees. Concerning the US Ticketmaster fiasco, Taylor wrote, “It’s truly amazing that 2.4 million people got tickets, but it really pisses me off that a lot of them feel like they went through several bear attacks to get them.” 

Along with Dublin, I secured tickets to Vienna. Oeticket was the ticket provider operating for Vienna. As opposed to Ticketmaster’s Dublin presale, this was a smooth concert buying experience. My friend secured the tickets in two minutes. There was a substantial price difference for VIP tickets, to get first admission into the front standing area of the stage cost €521.35 compared to a mouth-watering €743.62 in Dublin. While both tickets are extraordinarily expensive, how is there a €200 price difference when both packages are equally the same? 

This ticket sale was also on the same day as the French tickets. Therefore, as people struggled to secure tickets to either Paris or Lyon, others were comfortably booking Vienna tickets. How can one ticket provider be such a stress-free experience while the other feels like “several bear attacks”? All these concert dates have a high level of demand yet Ticketmaster, the globally renowned ticket provider cannot be relied on. The ticketing giant charges more money for a poorer customer service experience. 

So, what has been learned from all this? Two successes have arisen: the implementation of album presale tickets and not relying on Ticketmaster as the sole source of tickets too. If either one of these options is not provided, pure chaos erupts as we saw previously, in America and now, in France. Ticketmaster has A LOT of improvement to do. Yet, they continuously seem to progressing in a downward spiral.