One could say my tears are certainly ricocheting.
It's been a hard week to be a Swiftie.
On Tuesday, Nov. 15, the first batch of tickets to megastar Taylor Swift's Era's Tour—her first in four years—were released to "verified fans," a select group of individuals Ticketmaster invited to participate. Fans were already frustrated by the process before it even began, as it's not really clear how one gets to be verified, and scalpers are still historically are granted access codes.
Swifties knew just how hard things were going to be before the sales even started and were simply excited to receive access to the presale, only for many of them to be stuck in line for hours and eventually booted from the queue, have ticket after ticket swiped out from under them, or worse, have their code not even work due to site errors.
On Nov. 16, a presale for Capital One cardholders went in much the same manner, with paused queues and lost places throughout the day and seemingly minimal inventory available once most finally gained access.
Fans have called on Ticketmaster and Swift alike to comment on—and do something about—the nearly impossible ticket-buying process, and to take action against the hundreds—if not thousands—of tickets that are already listed for thousands of dollars on resale sites. Most recognize that Swift has no control over the errors themselves, but hope she will take action against Ticketmaster's anti-consumer monopoly over the entertainment industry.
The final blow came today, Nov. 17, when Ticketmaster announced they were canceling ticket sales for the following day, when the remaining inventory was meant to be released to the general public, with no word on future availability.
"Due to extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand, tomorrow's public on-sale for Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour has been cancelled," the post read.
Ticketmaster has been calling out "historically unprecedented demand" since things first started to go wrong, but as many a fan has pointed out, Ticketmaster knew exactly how many fans were invited to participate in the initial presale, and knew exactly the number of people expected to visit the site at the same time.
Instead, parent company Live Nation Entertainment chairman and CEO of Liberty Media Greg Maffei tried to redirect the public's attention to Swift, essentially blaming her level of fame for the problems his company has endured this week.
“The Live Nation team is sympathetic to the long wait times and fans who couldn’t get what they wanted,” Maffei told CNBC. “Reality is it’s a function of the massive demand that Taylor Swift has. The site was supposed to be opened up for 1.5 million verified Taylor Swift fans. We had 14 million people hit the site, including bots, another story, which are not supposed to be there. And despite all the challenges and the breakdowns, we did sell over 2 million tickets that day. We could have filled 900 stadiums.”
"And the reality is, this is actually not a Live Nation-promoted concert. Taylor Swift is promoted by one of our largest competitors." He went on to call Ticketmaster the "largest and most effective ticket seller in the world," suggesting that that was why AEG chose them, but AEG told Rolling Stone that they didn't have a choice, as most of the stadiums Swift is scheduled to perform at have a deal with Ticketmaster.
CNBC also pointed out that this is not the first time the brand has not been able to meet demand, to which Maffei simply apologized and assured they were "working hard on this."
He added, "Taylor Swift hasn't been on the road for three or four years, and that's caused a huge issue."
Ticketmaster also posted a press release on their website, sharing that 3.5 million people had registered with the hopes of securing presale access—the largest number in history. While 1.5 million were invited to try to purchase tickets, the seller says that bots and shoppers without access led to 3.5 billion total system requests, which is four times their previous peak. On the verified fan presale alone, they sold over 2 million tickets, which they say is the most ever sold for a single artist in one day. It's not clear at this time how many were sold during the Capital One cardholder presale the next day.
It's also next to impossible to determine the total capacity of the tour at this time, as seats are added to the floor and taken away behind the stage, but let's guestimate. SoFi stadium has 70,000 seats and can hold up to 100,240 for events. With an estimated one-sixth (11,667) of the seats behind the stage and Swift's lengthy runway taking up a chunk of the floor, let's say 75,000 people can attend each night in LA, and let's just use that estimate for all 52 US shows. Obviously, some stadiums hold more, some less, but we're estimating 3.9 million tickets were available. That means more than half of them sold out in one day alone.
"Never before has a Verified Fan on sale sparked so much attention – or uninvited volume. This disrupted the predictability and reliability that is the hallmark of our Verified Fan platform," they wrote.
It's worth pointing out that most fans loved the verification system used for the artist's reputation Tour, as well as the canceled Loverfest, which Ticketmaster chose not to use this time around despite the fact that it gave fans designated timeslots to come in and shop which easily managed the demand on the site and in each sale at any given time.
At the time of writing, SeatGeek, which is the primary retailer for certain stadiums on the tour, has not formally commented on the situation, but their event pages for the tour also state: "Due to extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand, tomorrow's public on-sale for Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour has been cancelled." The copy-and-paste language seems to suggest that the decision came from Swift's promoter, AEG, if not Swift herself, though neither has commented at this time.
It's unclear when those remaining ticket inventories will be released, or if additional shows will be added to help meet the demand. Swifties on Twitter have so far been met with silence when requesting information about exactly how many tickets are left. Many are calling for them, however many there may be, to be released to verified fans again.
Representation for Swift did not immediately respond to Parade's request for comment.