Taylor Swift is Getting Hammered for Gamifying Sales of Concert Tickets

Taylor Swift’s people thought they came up with a bulletproof way of keeping the bots at bay with a new way of selling tickets to Tay-Tay’s upcoming tour. But all it seems to be doing is creating a backlash. From Music Ally:

“Taylor Swift is committed to getting tickets into the hands of fans…NOT scalpers or bots. So she’s collaborating with Ticketmaster #VerifiedFan to create an exclusive program to help YOU get the best access to tickets in North America, in a really fun way,” is how the partnership is pitched to fans.

“Once you register, improve your place in line by participating in boost activities until initial registration closes on Nov 28.”

It’s the ‘boost activities’ element that is proving controversial.

Swifties can improve their chances of getting concert tickets by posting on social media and watching her new music video, but also by pre-ordering her upcoming ‘Reputation’ album (up to 13 times on different retailers) and buying merchandise – with a higher boost value for the activities that involve spending money.

This gamification isn’t going down well with a number of journalists who’ve covered the promotion. “It makes getting tickets for a Taylor Swift concert into a game in which people with the most money get ahead,” suggested Jezebel. “I’m not sure how getting fans to buy merch (one item is a $60 snake ring plated with 24K gold) does anything to stop bots (which, by the way, is not the fans’ job, it’s Ticketmaster’s.”

Read the whole story here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

3 thoughts on “Taylor Swift is Getting Hammered for Gamifying Sales of Concert Tickets

  • August 29, 2017 at 9:11 am

    I’m not a Taylor Swift fan but I had to do the same thing for the Foo Fighters and Linkin Park Rip

  • August 29, 2017 at 10:15 am

    Good thing U2 and Depeche Mode didn’t do anything eerily similar eh!

  • August 29, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    Registering for Verified? Not a big deal – in fact I wish more bands did this.

    Gamifying the process for gaining access to better tickets? Even better idea. It’s a perfect way to reward the most devout and dedicated fans with better access. Kudos.

    Undermining the whole process by making it a glorified auction for tickets? That’s just pure greed. I’m all for cutting scalpers and bots out of the process, but having the artist directly gouge her fans rather than have scalpers gouge them isn’t that much of an improvement.

    In fact, an auction per seat would be a more transparent approach to maximizing the supply/demand on these transactions. With this gamified version, thousands will spend money on merch in the hopes of gaining access to tickets – money that won’t be refunded if they don’t win. It’ll absolutely obliterate the legitimacy of the top sales chart as well as fans buy the same album repeatedly to gain better standing in the competition.


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