This Taylor Swift fan says she's 'embarrassed' about paying $5,500 for resale tickets
- Paige, a Swiftie of 15 years, was not enchanted by the way ticket sales went down for the Eras tour.
- The 31-year-old eventually snagged tickets on the resale market for $5,500 but now regrets it.
For hours, Paige sat in front of her computer, dust collecting as she waited in the queue for the most coveted show of the year: Taylor Swift's Eras tour.
Paige, 31, has been a Swiftie for 15 years. Her last name has been withheld over privacy concerns but is known to Insider.
Paige taught herself guitar by learning songs from Swift's debut record. She's never seen Swift in concert and did everything she could to prepare herself for maximum presale luck: She bought merch ahead of the presale registration and streamed music videos to try and land a coveted spot in line.
Paige did receive a presale code, but as Swifties across the country found out, the queue for tickets "was a madhouse." With 2,000-plus people ahead of her and the line paused, Paige realized she was on her own.
After waiting upward of three hours, she began perusing StubHub for tickets that were already being resold. She saw prices ranging from $5,000 to over $30,000. When she saw two floor seats priced under just $2,000 each, she jumped.
With fees and tax, the total came to just over $5,500 — above her initial budget of $5,000. Her plan was to put the purchase on her credit card and pay it off over time, using it as a way to build credit. At first she was excited, running off adrenaline as she scooped up the coveted seats.
Now, she regrets it.
"I don't feel good to have tickets anymore," she said. "It wasn't something fun, like it was supposed to be. I feel guilty. I feel like I did something impulsive in panic mode, and I am disappointed in Ticketmaster and Live Nation for letting it get to this point of just being a complete frenzy."
Paige wasn't alone in her mad dash to get tickets, as millions of fans tried to pile into an hours-long virtual queue on Ticketmaster. Swift, the prolific singer, songwriter, and director, has dominated the charts with "Midnights," her latest release.
The demand for her latest tour was immense, crashing Ticketmaster and leading fans to believe there must have been a glitch. More than 3.5 million people applied for presale codes, according to Ticketmaster, and 2 million tickets were sold in one day. Many are pointing to Ticketmaster's dominance over ticket sales and merger with Live Nation as one reason that ticket sales were so chaotic.
Even Swift herself seemed to lash out at the ticketing madness, writing on Instagram, "It's really difficult for me to trust an outside entity with these relationships and loyalties, and excruciating for me to just watch mistakes happen with no recourse."
The gold rush on Swift tickets has led to some tickets being resold for up to $13,000. Paige says she saw tickets going for $33,000 when she purchased hers. Ticketmaster said 90% fewer tickets were up for resale on secondary markets than a typical sale.
Many Swifties have found themselves shut out of buying face-value tickets completely: Ticketmaster later canceled its ticket sale for the general public "due to extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory." Some verified fans ended up being able to buy tickets later through Ticketmaster.
"Once I realized how many people were impacted by this and how I fed into what resellers do, which is prey on people who are in that panic mode, it didn't feel good anymore," Paige said. "Once I saw the Capital One presale go the exact same way, I felt guilty for having tickets. I felt nauseous that I spent so much."
It's a struggle some music lovers know all too well, and one that goes beyond just being stuck in a Ticketmaster queue. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a key progressive from New York, blasted Ticketmaster the day that tickets went on sale.
"Daily reminder that Ticketmaster is a monopoly, it's merger with LiveNation should never have been approved, and they need to be reigned in. Break them up," she tweeted. Ocasio-Cortez encouraged Swifties to call upon the Justice Department to break up the merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation.
David Blato, the former policy director of the Federal Trade Commission and a public-interest antitrust lawyer who testified against the merger in 2009, told Insider that he thinks "breaking up this merger will be a major priority for the antitrust division." He said that the merger has led to higher fees and less competition among resellers. The Department of Justice is reportedly investigating Live Nation Entertainment over antitrust concerns.
"It's awful that people with credit cards and wealth, or luck, we're the only ones who are able to go to Taylor's show now," Paige said.
She's not even sure she wants to go anymore. She wishes she and everyone else who bought exorbitantly priced resale tickets could get a refund, or that there was a way to start the process all over again and ensure that verified fans could get tickets.
"I feel like it's a dirty ticket," she said. "Like in the same way getting something in the wrong way would feel bad, it's the same with this. I'm embarrassed I did it, I regret it, and I kind of just wish I had a nosebleed ticket — because I just don't feel like giving in in this way to the resellers was the answer."
This article was originally published in November 2022.
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