The bold gambit that Ticketmaster and Taylor Swift’s management pulled with her upcoming tour appears to be falling apart in spectacular fashion. After ratcheting up perceived demand through its monetized “Swift Tix” presale system, Taylor Swift ticket prices for the “Reputation” tour have been plummeting, including a recent promotion that slashed service fees in what the New York Post called a “desperate bid to boost sales.” Not a single stop on the stadium tour has sold out, and many stops have huge numbers of seats still up for grabs as the opening date in early May approaches.
Swift’s management and Ticketmaster officials have downplayed the poor sales, claiming that it was all part of their plan to eliminate the secondary market from the equation on the stadium tour. “We’d like to sell the last ticket to her concert when she takes the stage each night,” Ticketmaster VP and Verified Fan Svengali David Marcus said at the time of the original onsale, back in the fall. “We’re not trying to sell all of her tickets in one minute; we’re trying to figure out how to sell tickets in a more modern way.”
That more modern way is proving to be a huge downside for the singer’s core fans, who were shoehorned into the VF “Swift Tix” system for access to the presale. Fans had to register and grant the Live Nation subsidiary access to their personal data (in the name of proving they weren’t resellers, with the tangential benefit of the company having reams of data for future marketing purposes on millions of people). Not satisfied with that, the presale involved a hazy “boost” system, which allowed the biggest fans to bump their way towards the front of the line by buying merchandise, watching videos, or marketing on Taylor Swift’s behalf. Perhaps the most ridiculous thing was a branded partnership with UPS, where fans could boost their spot in line by tweeting about the package delivery company’s trucks that had been branded with the singer’s likeness.
Most importantly, however, is the fact that the ticket prices from day one were sky-high. Substantially higher than Swift’s ‘1989’ tour, which caught the ire of fans from the start. Now that those prices are falling, the super fans who were leveraged for so much at the outset are far from pleased.
“I just got the e-mail about no service fees if you purchased tickets today,” Amy Beth Outland tweeted. “But if you’ve already purchased tickets like … I did, can we get the cost of service fees back?”
“You all should be ashamed and embarrassed over the Verified Fan SCAM you pulled on TS fans for this tour,” tweeted Julie Miller. “Months after the ‘verified’ presale better tickets at cheaper prices are being released.”
On a thread discussing the tour pricing (and failures) on Reddit.com, a few users appear to have reached the core of the issue:
“The artists are the scalpers,” wrote user MangoMiasma. “Ticketmaster have become the scalpers,” countered user bangbangariana420. “They make so much on resale on their own site because they charge fees on resale tickets on both the seller and the buyer on top of over priced face value tickets.”
The news will likely continue to get worse for those who poured time and money into the initial process, as prices are all but guaranteed to continue plummeting. Analysis by Ticket Club showed that prices available for its members are lower than the current Ticketmaster get-in price at nearly every stop on the tour.
So much for the “overwhelming demand” that caused the addition of several dates in January.