The Hell of Buying Taylor Swift ‘Eras ​​Tour’ Tickets: Crashes, Queues and Crying

Want to see Taylor Swift live? You’re on your own, boy.

Tickets for the pop star’s highly anticipated “Eras Tour” became available for pre-sale Tuesday morning to lucky Swifties selected by Ticketmaster as “verified fans.” However, for many today was not a fairy tale.

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I began my ticket purchase journey at 8 a.m. PT, an hour before my purchase window for the shows in Glendale, Ariz. While Ticketmaster issued the codes, both Glendale and the concert pre-sales in Arlington, Texas were conducted through SeatGeek.

Last night my friends and I negotiated our budget cap. It was reported that non-VIP tickets would cost up to $449, but I’ve been burned by dynamic pricing too many times to enter a ticket sale unprepared. I opened my presale link on two computers and my phone hoping to increase my chances of getting through the line. As I scrolled Twitter to get tips from Swifties on the East Coast, panic broke out.

Many fans trying to get tickets took to Twitter to vent their frustrations – while some got through to buying, many got queued saying “2,000+ people ahead of you”. To make matters worse, Ticketmaster then “temporarily paused” the queue, leaving hopefuls in limbo without specifying when they might be allowed through.

As soon as the clock struck 9, I was redirected to SeatGeek’s virtual line. Unlike Ticketmaster, there was no telling where I was in line: the words “you’re in line” were accompanied by a stationary orange progress bar.

At 9:09 AM, one of my computers displayed a blurry image of the map. It took another four minutes for the interface to actually load. I immediately found myself assigned on March 18, with no option to try for the March 17 show, despite Ticketmaster’s assurances that verified fan presale would apply to all dates for your selected venue. I decided not to waste time on the date, but instead to stay at the very front of the pit and pick four seats as close to the podium as possible.

I was taken to another screen, ready to pay… only to be told that my selected seats had already been taken. It took another five minutes for the seat map to load again – and I immediately noticed that the seats I had just tried to buy were still listed as available on the map. I ignored them and tried again section after section, repeating the “already taken” experience three more times.

My boss called me in the middle of my ticket-induced meltdown. After an attempt to discuss the workday was interrupted by my yelling of expletives, we broke things off. “Buy your tickets and call me when you’re done,” he said, clearly recognizing my panic.

At 9:18 am I finally managed to pick out a few seats that were actually available in the front part of the well. I was, to borrow a phrase from Swift, “The Lucky One,” snagging four tickets at $429 each (plus the dreaded service charge, which added $99.14 to each ticket).

Eras Tour Tickets

Eras Tour Tickets

After enjoying the glory of being the hero of my friend group (and eventually calling my boss back), I texted another friend to buy tickets to a show in LA. “Ticketmaster didn’t let me into the waiting room, which should have opened 20 minutes ago,” he said. At 20 minutes, he was pushed to a sellout at 3 p.m. PT.

Ticketmaster addressed the crash in a statement posted on social media, citing “a historically unprecedented demand with millions showing up to buy tickets.” The seller postponed the Capital One presale for an entire day and moved it to Wednesday at 2 p.m. local time.

Additionally, fans who had tickets to Swift’s canceled “Lover Fest” were promised “preferred access” to the sale, but it appears they fell by the wayside during the buying process, with many reports of them still waiting in the general presale queue.

A quick look at StubHub shows that seats in my section now range from $1,999 to $12,825. If the verified fan system was meant to prevent scalpers from reselling tickets at a higher price… it wasn’t. It is curious that Ticketmaster, who controlled the number of verified fans, would not have the resources to support the sale.

Clearly tickets to Swift’s concerts are popular, but no one should be forced to take days off and wait in long queues with no end in sight just to see their favorite artist. While I’m grateful to be able to attend the “Eras Tour,” I can’t stop thinking about how badly this sale went – and this is far from the first strike against these vendors.

Ticketmaster and SeatGeek: You’re the problem, it’s you.

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