Sunday, 01 Oct 2023

The agony and ecstasy of scoring last-minute face value Taylor Swift tickets

The agony and ecstasy of scoring last-minute face value Taylor Swift tickets

When Julia Thomas woke up at her home in Cleveland last Saturday, she spontaneously decided to drive 15 hours roundtrip to the Taylor Swift concert that night in Nashville, picking up her sister in Cincinnati along the way. But they were missing one thing: tickets.

Like so many Swift fans, she couldn't get tickets on Ticketmaster when they went on sale last fall, nor could she afford the four-figure price tag listed for them on resale sites. About halfway through the drive, however, her sister found $350 floor seats after refreshing various Swift-focused Twitter accounts: Ticketmaster had just dropped a handful of last-minute tickets at face value on its website.

"We seriously just got super lucky," she told CNN. "We made it to Nashville with about an hour to spare before the concert started."

Thomas is one of many devoted fans who closely monitor a mix of Twitter accounts dedicated to alerting fans when Ticketmaster releases a new batch of Swift tickets after the initial sale.

Ticket drops are not new. They're ostensibly due to additional seats being added to a venue, or if tickets are returned. But these drops have become an obsession among Swift's most devoted fans, who are struggling to find tickets for the artist in the face of Ticketmaster's broader ticketing snafus.

Ticketmaster has been under scrutiny for fumbling the online sales to the mega-star's latest tour, in an era where it already completely dominates the live event industry, leaving few, if any, alternatives. In November, "Verified Fans" were sent a presale code - but when sales began, heavy demand snarled the website and millions of Swifties could not get their hands on a ticket. Presale tickets for Capital One card holders brought similar frustration - and then Ticketmaster canceled sales to the general public, citing "extraordinarily high demand" and "insufficient remaining ticket inventory."

In testimony before Congress, Ticketmaster parent company Live Nation President and CFO Joe Berchtold partly blamed the ticketing incident on bots. He also emphasized that Ticketmaster does not set ticket prices, does not determine the number of tickets put up for sale and that "in most cases, venues set service and ticketing fees," not Ticketmaster.

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