TicketMaster and Taylor Swift
I was a last-minute substitution to see Taylor Swift perform in Las Vegas this weekend. It was a treat for me for a number of reasons, especially to experience Taylor Swift fandom in real life.
Even though we were in highest section at Allegiant Stadium, and Taylor was a blur on the stage, the lighting, stage design, and video production made it feel like I was on the floor with my sweet sixteen niece.
What struck me about the show most was the pure JOY the audience had for her, and she for them.
But as an observer at the concert something really hit me:
What of all the people who wanted to see Taylor Swift but could not because the resale market has taken tickets that cost as low as $49 and inflated them exponentially?
A ticket should be to enjoy entertainment, not an investment for a broker or anybody else to make a profit. It's a ticket not an investment. Tickets becoming a commodity is the direct result of ticket brokers and the resale market ticket brokerages have created.
There can be a secondary market that allows ticket holders to sell or trade their tickets to allow for the free exchange of tickets. The practice that is causing the problems, and needs to be curbed in my opinion, is the acquisition of tickets for which the only intent is for resale. Caps on the number of tickets you can buy and the like do not work because the brokers and secondary market have ways to bypass them.
The history of the ticket broker prior to the Internet is that of a fixer. They could get people willing to pay money tickets for events with a premium service fee attached. Ticket brokers were a service provider and a premium service.
Now resale tickets are a $5 BILLION industry attracting venture capital and private capital attention because of the profit margins. This is no longer an industry providing a service to a handful of willing buyers. The ticket resale market has rigged the system to deny both fans and artists alike opportunities.
Taylor Swift wanted fans across the economic spectrum to be able to see her on the Eras Tour but the siphoning off of tickets for resale denied those who were unable to afford the astronomic prices the opportunity.
Congress and the Department of Justice need to revisit the issue with the consumer and artist in the center of the conversation, not the ticket brokers and those investing in the growth of the resale market.