Taylor Swift accepts an award on stage at the 2022 MTV Europe Music Awards on November 13, 2022 in Düsseldorf, Germany.
Kevin Mazur | Wire Image | Getty Images
Taylor Swift fans don’t have a “love story” with Ticketmaster – and can fall victim to scams if they’re not careful when looking for affordable concert tickets.
Ticketmaster announced Thursday afternoon that it has canceled public ticketing plans for the pop star’s upcoming “The Eras Tour,” her first since 2018. sales for Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour has been cancelled,” the site said said in a tweet.
Tickets went on sale to the general public on Friday, November 18 at 10:00 AM ET.
Fans had access to Taylor Swift tickets this week through a presale offer for Capital One cardholders; those tickets are no longer available.
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If more tickets don’t become available to the general public later on, fans may think it’s necessary to go to the “secondary” market to score a seat — that is, from sellers other than Ticketmaster. But that market could be full of landmines for unwary buyers, experts said.
“If you’re in a hurry to get your tickets—which, of course, you will be due to demand—it’s very easy to make a quick mistake,” says Chris Cobb, owner of Exit/In historic rock club in Nashville, Tennessee.
Swifties, as the artist’s diehard fans are called, flooded the internet this week to buy presale tickets for ‘Eras’.
The deluge temporarily crashed Ticketmaster’s site on Tuesday, causing hours of waiting to purchase tickets. The chaos led to calls from U.S. Senators and the Tennessee Attorney General for investigations into the ticket seller’s market power and sales practices.
Ticketmaster called the demand “historically unprecedented” on Tuesday. The 2023 tour, which has 52 dates to date, sold more than 2 million tickets that day – a single-day record.
Meanwhile, tickets on the resale market – in some cases to over $10,000 – soared through ticketing sites like StubHub. These are asking prices, not necessarily what fans pay to score a seat.
Amidst all the buzz – and ticket craze – desperate fans can be excited to stumble upon something that seems like a good deal. However, it could really be fraud.
“Hot ticket deals, you’re pretty much going to find none,” said Andrew Farwell, vice president of Outback Presents, an independent concert promoter based in Nashville. “It’s capitalism at its best, supply and demand.
“This is the ultimate dream and nightmare at the same time,” Farwell added, referring to the high demand for live events following the pandemic’s lull.
Why concert tickets are a buyer beware market
Some Taylor Swift fans who bought seemingly legitimate tickets have, however already discovered that they had been cheated.
Purchasing tickets in the “secondary market” poses an increased risk of fraud and/or exorbitant prices to consumers, entertainment industry experts warned.
For example, Ticketmaster is the “primary” seller of the Taylor Swift tour. Tickets for events appearing on a primary seller’s site are sold for the first time and at face value (i.e., the price printed on the ticket).
Secondary sellers often buy tickets in bulk from primary sellers using “bots” and then resell them at a higher price, a practice known as “ticketing”.
“There are almost that many [secondary sellers] that you just can’t keep up,” Cobb said.
A major concern for consumers: The secondary market has seen an “increase in fraudulent, unethical and illegal activities” such as ticket scalping and ticket touting, according to Technavio, a market researcher. The company estimates that global secondary market share will rise to $2.2 billion by 2026, representing a growth rate of approximately 8% per year; 44% of revenue growth is expected to come from North America.
Of course, this is not to say that secondary sellers are scammers under any circumstances. But it’s going to be a “buyer beware” type of market, experts said.
Exit/In recently had a run of sold-out shows and had to turn down groups every night, Cobb said. They accidentally bought counterfeit tickets.
Sometimes that can happen if a reseller sells multiples of the same ticket; only the initially scanned ticket will work at the door. In other cases, a reseller may sell you tickets that he hasn’t even gotten his hands on yet.
It’s easy to see why consumers are confused: Google results for “Taylor Swift concert tickets” on Thursday afternoon put ads for StubHub and Vivid Seats — both secondary sellers — ahead of Ticketmaster and Taylor Swift’s own website. And it may not be clear how to distinguish the two groups.
The question for consumers becomes how to know if they are making a mistake before buying.
There’s a surefire way to buy online, experts said: First, navigate to an artist’s website or event venue and click through for tickets from there. Doing so will take you to the primary seller’s page.
Before you buy, double-check the URL domain name of the website one last time — to make sure you’re buying from “ticketmaster.com” and not “ticketfaster.com,” Cobb said.
Of course, there’s a chance that a particular show will be sold out or that nominal ticket prices will be higher than hoped through Ticketmaster when fans go to buy.
“If there are simply no tickets available, I understand that fans want to see a show, but they risk overpaying or running into counterfeit tickets, scam artists,” said Tim Gray, CEO of Grayscale Marketing and vice president of marketing for Romeo Entertainment Group, a talent buyer and concert promoter.
Social media is another potential landmine for fans, Gray said. Since the pandemic, he has seen a “massive amount, an absurd, insane amount” of fraud through Facebook and other platforms.
In these cases, a bot (even posing as someone you know) may trick you into clicking a fake link for a live stream to a sold-out concert, or tell you that they can no longer use tickets they purchased. These are often attempts to steal your personal information or credit card number, Gray said.
He encourages fans who buy tickets this way to click on the social media profile in question and look for potential red flags, such as very few previous posts, indicating that the account was probably just created. Fans can also search Google for consumer reviews of the seller in question, which can give an indication of whether others have been scammed.
It’s likely that even legitimate Taylor Swift tickets purchased on the secondary market will see prices drop dramatically from current levels after the initial rush of demand has been filtered out, experts said.
“A broker is fishing to see what they can get,” Cobb said. “Those numbers will continue to fall once all these false demands are gone and there is a correction.”