“The Great War”: The Experience of Buying Era Tour Tickets

The agonizing experience that Swifties had with buying tickets.


Denielle, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Taylor Swift performs live in Los Angeles during her Red Tour.

On Tuesday, November 15, 2022, millions of Swifties were ecstatic after buying tickets for Swift’s Eras Tour. Over two million tickets had been sold through the ticket distribution company Ticketmaster, the most an artist has ever sold in a single day. Still, many fans were left frustrated. Greg Maffei, the chairman for LiveNation explained that 14 million people tried buying tickets, which, for context, could have filled 900 stadiums. Swift’s song The Great War had come to life, literally. 

Dave Pell, a fellow victim of the purge wrote “I’m a failure as a father.’…The one time my daughter really needed me to come through for her, I ended up on the outside looking in, banished to the barren badlands of the Taylor Swift ticket waiting list wasteland.”  

Buying tickets was agonizing. Many fans were repeatedly removed from the queue while others waited up to 8 hours. “Ticketmaster’s excessive wait times and fees are completely unacceptable,” wrote lawmaker David Cicilline on Twitter. “It is no secret Live Nation-Ticketmaster is an unchecked monopoly.”

To ease up the high demand of tickets, the West Coast had a 3-hour delay for the presale event. This was due to a “historically unprecedented demand” for tickets. The exclusive Capital One presale event sale was postponed by a day as well. Yet, many devoted Swifties were unable to buy tickets. The general sale was then canceled due to an insufficient inventory of tickets. 

Hundreds of thousands of people waited from four to eight hours and never got an opportunity to buy tickets. “They just want the system to change,” explained Jennifer Kinder, a lawyer representing the Swift fans in a lawsuit. 

Many students at Bronx Science had issues as well. Tasneem Wahid ’24 was looking forward to buying tickets during the presale but was kicked off the queue multiple times, making it impossible for her to buy tickets. Wahid said “I had a difficult time buying tickets during the presale. I was really disappointed. General Sale being canceled was further disappointing and extremely frustrating.” She is one of the millions of fans unsatisfied with Ticketmaster. 

Sarah Cheng ’24 had a similar experience as Wahid. She was unable to buy tickets during the presale, however, ultimately she was able to purchase tickets through TicketMaster’s Verified Fan Request. This Ticketmaster feature gave many fans a second opportunity to buy tickets. Fans who registered as “verified” received an individual invite to submit a purchase request. Invitations were staggered. They were also based on tour dates and location. Cheng was “grateful to have gotten two tickets for $750,” compared to the prices from resellers. 

Many resellers were able to get their hands on tickets. They sold them for as much as $2,200 immediately after the presale. Ticketmaster benefits from resold tickets in the second-hand market since there is a service fee in what is deemed a fan-to-fan exchange.

Taylor Swift performs at a stadium during her Reputation Tour. (UltimateWarrior13, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)

Due to the three large stadiums, Swift is performing at and the size of her fan base, she had no choice but to use Ticketmaster. Ticketmaster is the number one ticket-selling service and it controls about 70% of the ticket-selling industry today. There is a large gap between Ticketmaster and the next primary ticketing system. Ticketmaster is not forced to innovate as it dominates the industry which allows it to remain extremely corrupt. TicketMaster is a Monopoly.

Ticketmaster had previously blamed the presale for the insufficient stock of tickets for general sale. The tour is Swift’s first tour in five years. Ticketmaster explained how due to the high demand for tickets, the company experienced many issues. Taylor Swift said it was “excruciating” watching fans struggle to buy tickets. Ticketmaster ensured they would be able to handle the high demand.

This December 2022, more than two dozen fans banded together to file a lawsuit against Ticketmaster for violating antitrust laws. These 26 Swifties came from all over the United States, from Utah to North Carolina. The 33-page lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of California in Los Angeles County and explained that Ticketmaster was anti-competitive due to high prices in the presale, regular sale, and reselling market. According to the lawsuit, Ticketmaster forces attendees to use Secondary Ticket Exchange to obtain more profit than they could earn in a competitive market.

The Swifties, who filed the lawsuit, wants a penalty of $25,000. The lawsuit notes that “Ticketmaster is a monopoly that is only interested in taking every dollar it can from a captive public.” The lawsuit also states that by providing 1.4 million codes to “verified fans” despite the limited number of seats, Ticketmaster “intentionally and purposely mislead TayorSwiftTix presale ticket holders.” The Chairman of Live Nation, Greg Maffei, stated that “The reality is, Taylor Swift hasn’t been on the road for three or four years, and that’s caused a huge issue,” essentially blaming Swift’s popularity for the issues. 

The war for tickets raised concerns amongst many lawmakers as well. Senator Amy Klobuchar, the head of the senate antitrust committee, wrote an open letter to the CEO of Ticketmaster. In her letter, Klobuchar expressed her “serious concerns” about the company. The Department of Justice is conducting an antitrust investigation into LiveNation. They will determine whether LiveNation truly dominates the industry and if they have created a monopoly.

This situation has left many Swifties disappointed. It exemplifies the lack of organization and responsibility exhibited by large corporations. November 15, 2022, will be a day Swifties remember ‘All Too Well.’

Hundreds of thousands of people waited from four to eight hours and never got an opportunity to buy tickets. “They just want the system to change,” explained Jennifer Kinder, a lawyer representing the Swift fans in a lawsuit.