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Whether you’re an avid concert-goer or someone that only goes when your favorite artist is in town, there’s a high chance you’ve had to deal with price gouging from scalpers. “Why is this $75 ticket selling for over $150?” We’d be lying if we said we hadn’t had to navigate the tough landscape of supply and demand when purchasing tickets to an event. Whether from big-name ticket sites like Ticketmaster or smaller venue sites, it’s far too common.

Anyone that listens to music has heard the name Taylor Swift. Whether you’re a fan or not, she’s been a pillar in the music industry – breaking records repeatedly. After the rights to all of her previous albums were taken away, she made the decision to rerecord them – bringing a new experience to the songs that her fans grew up with. She’s currently on tour, The Eras Tour, promoting the re-recordings and taking attendees through all eras. We’ll get to this later.

Why are we bringing up Taylor Swift?

If you’ve been following along with her concert (and even if you don’t), you probably know tickets to The Eras Tour sold out quickly after Ticketmaster couldn’t handle the demand from her fans. Resale tickets have been selling for over $1,000 – for just one night. This may be a surprise if you don’t listen to her music, but those of us who have been listening from the start aren’t entirely surprised but still disheartened. Taylor Swift hasn’t toured in over five years, causing a high demand for these tickets. She’s successfully sold out every stadium she’s played at, and what happened with the sale of these tickets sparked an uproar from her fans and Swift herself.

Taylor Swift performing at The Eras Tour
Taylor Swift taken by Matt Swensen

Ticketmaster has faced criticism since 1994 and is known to team up with scalpers. The big ticket site merged with Live Nation in 2009. In November 2022, Taylor Swift tickets went on sale. Less than an hour after, the server crashed. It left thousands of fans sitting in a queue with more than 2,000 people ahead of them. The site claims they were unprepared for the demand, and the uproar sparked an inquiry into Ticketmaster. Tennessee Attorney General Johnathan Skrmetti launched an investigation due to customer complaints. Then in December, Swift fans filed a lawsuit against Ticketmaster, accusing them of fraud, anti-trust violations, and price-fixing.

This isn’t too common with Ticketmaster, though, is it?

It is. When Ticketmaster and Live Nation merged, the company settled a class action lawsuit against Ticketmaster, alleging that the company had misled plaintiffs in delivery and processing fees. So who wins in these scenarios when Ticketmaster mishandles ticket sales? The answer is simple, Ticketmaster.

As someone who has been attending concerts since 2012, I’ve noticed scalpers have only gotten worse over the last few years. Facebook groups have tried to combat this issue by creating groups solely focused on selling tickets at face value. This is extremely common, and we’ve seen it recently with the return of the infamous Pretty Lights. Hundreds of fans are unable to buy tickets at a reasonable price. The demand simply cannot be met with bots and scalpers purchasing tickets to sell at a higher rate.

Although we’d like to think there’s a solution, there isn’t one. The ticket demand is just too high for how these big-ticket sites operate. For individuals looking for access to popular concerts, we have to be smart about purchasing resale from people we don’t know to ensure we don’t get scammed and have a great time at the show.

We can’t fight bots and scalpers (as much as we want to). All we can really do is hope we can secure face-value tickets when they go on sale or buy a reasonably priced ticket from resellers. Whether it’s for your favorite artist, festival, or any curated event, we wish you the best of luck. Be smart and diligent.

Ever wonder how much revenue big-name festivals bring in compared to Taylor Swift?

We’ll get into that next. Stay tuned for the second and final part of the series where we’ll dive into the financials of the festivals we all know and love and The Eras Tour.

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