Chaotic Taylor Swift Presale Forces Ticketmaster to Issue Statement, Cancel Public On-Sale

"While it's impossible for everyone to get tickets to these shows, we know we can do more to improve the experience"

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Nov 17, 2022

If you've been living under a rock, chances are you've still felt some distant reverberations from tickets going on sale for Taylor Swift's the Eras Tour this week. Swift is set to play 52 shows in North America next year to stadiums full of thousands upon thousands of screaming fans — though many more will be relegated to screaming from venue parking lots and/or social media platforms, as they were unable to get tickets thanks to Ticketmaster's website crashing.

Today, the ticketing platform issued a lengthy explainer regarding what, exactly, went so wrong with the pop star's Verified Fan presale. It then swiftly announced that the public on-sale for the Eras Tour would be cancelled "due to extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory."

Let's rewind a bit to when this ticketing process was first known to be trouble. Ticketmaster's Verified Fan system, which requires registration, was designed for high-demand shows to help "weed out bots." According to the company, a record-breaking 3.5 million people pre-registered to receive codes for Swift's Verified Fan sale. Ticketmaster estimates that approximately 40 percent of people who sign up for Verified Fan sales actually use their codes and buy tickets (with most purchasing an average of three). Around 1.5 million people were invited to the presale for the Eras Tour, while the remaining 2 million were put on a waitlist.

While less than half of fan demand being met for a presale doesn't seem great, this is apparently normal. However, as the company said, a historic number of people requested codes, so when the presale began on Tuesday (November 15), there was also an "unprecedented" amount of traffic on the Ticketmaster site — from people who both did and didn't have the invite codes, as well as a "staggering number of bot attacks." 

"It usually takes us about an hour to sell through a stadium show, but we slowed down some sales and pushed back others to stabilize the systems," the statement continued, explaining that this is the reason why some fans faced longer wait times (read: hours) in queue, and often without success in acquiring tickets.

"Even when a high demand on sale goes flawlessly from a tech perspective, many fans are left empty handed," the company wrote. "For example: based on the volume of traffic to our site, Taylor would need to perform over 900 stadium shows (almost 20x the number of shows she is doing)… that's a stadium show every single night for the next 2.5 years." So, in other words, it's her. Hi! She's the problem; it's her.

Ticketmaster concluded, "While it's impossible for everyone to get tickets to these shows, we know we can do more to improve the experience and that's what we're focused on."

Shortly after the explainer was published, the ticketing platform — which high-profile politicians have criticized and launched investigations against, alleging market abuse following its merger with entertainment giant Live Nation — announced on Twitter that it was cancelling tomorrow's scheduled public on-sale for the Eras Tour.
It seems like public outrage towards the ticketing monopoly will continue, and there's no doubt Swifties will be on their "Vigilante Shit" accordingly. This summer, Ticketmaster doubled down on $5,000 Bruce Springsteen tickets, while John Oliver dug into its scalping scams in response to a TikToker wondering why Bad Bunny tickets were so expensive.

Speaking of, if you're curious as to how much tickets to see Swift were ballparking for, apparently even nosebleed seats were hundreds apiece and good spots could run you into the thousands. Meanwhile, some StubHub resellers are asking $20,000 USD for floor tickets [via CNN], convincing a number of parents that blondie is waging war on Christmas.

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