Music Industry

What happened with Ticketmaster and the Taylor Swift tour pre-sale?

Ticketmaster’s nuclear-attack-level ticket-selling infrastructure was taken down Tuesday (Nov 15) when millions of Taylor Swift fans tried to get tickets to her Eras tour.

Here’s the TM statement: “There has been historically unprecedented demand with millions showing up to buy tickets for the TaylorSwiftTix Presale.”

Yeah, no kidding. Social media is on fire with people who, despite being a Verified Fan (or someone with special credit card privileges like Capital One), were unable to buy tickets for a variety of reasons. Some reported being unexpectedly kicked out of the queue. Others reported a glitchy website experience with seat maps that were slow to load and selections that didn’t stick on first click.

Then there were the usual complaints about service fees and Ticketmaster’s “dynamic pricing” model which adjusts ticket prices based on the demand of the moment. And with so many people trying to get a limited number of tickets, prices went up. And up. And up. We’re still feeling around to find the actual market value of a Tay-Tay ticket. We’ll find that when price evens out demand.

More from Ticketmaster: “If you are currently in a queue, please hang tight – queues are moving and we are working to get fans through as quickly as possible. West Coast onsales for Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Santa Clara and Seattle originally scheduled for 10 a.m. PT will now be taking place at 3 p.m. PT. Queues will open 30 minutes prior.”

Here’s a detailed report from someone who tried to buy tickets.

Cue the tsunami of complaints and demands for the Ticketmaster monopoly to be broken up. Great, but no one has ever come up with a viable alternative. Yes, we can discuss things like website crashes, service fees and how tickets miraculously and suddenly end up on the secondary market, but that’s not the core of the problem.

Here’s the hard truth: Taylor Swift is one of the biggest stars in the world. She doesn’t tour that often. Millions of people want to see her. There are fewer seats than there are fans. Some are going to be lucky and get tickets while others are going to be disappointed. Such is life.

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.

Alan Cross has 38340 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

2 thoughts on “What happened with Ticketmaster and the Taylor Swift tour pre-sale?

  • I honestly wish we would go back to queuing up at local outlets like the (not good) old days. It would solve the problem. Anyone who says that this is NEW behavior is a liar. This has been happening to me for the last twenty years from their App to their websites in various incarnations and various methods of connectivity (didn’t matter whether it was on a windows machine or a mac) and didn’t matter what my ISP was or how fast my connection was. TM has always sucked at programming their site/app. Period. I can’t even count how many times I have lost out on brilliant seats at presales – and presales are the ONLY time I buy tickets, and we’re talking the before times here. (and one ‘now’ time where I almost lost my head and paid $$$$$ for DM tickets)

    They aren’t alone. I consider AXS second runner-up. Their system is wonky too. I had a perfect front row seat to see Oingo Boingo Former Members and their system timed out on me as I was entering my credit card and then my seat and every single other good seat in the front was gone. All that was left were seats up in the tiers and that wasn’t acceptable to me.

    I’d rather queue in a line or take my chances driving to a remote location or going for a lottery style random queue allocation than deal with the complete whim of technology and TM. (and I have nothing against tech – it’s how I make my living)

  • Two different friends with teen and tween daughters spent WAY TOO MUCH time and energy and couldn’t get tickets for football stadium shows? FOOTBALL STADIUM SHOWS!!!!


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