By Emilee Webb, News Editor
November 19, 2022
As the clock struck 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 15, millions of Taylor Swift fans across the country sat attentively in front of their computers in hopes to purchase tickets to see the award-winning artist in concert. The Ticketmaster and Seatgeek programs were overwhelmed by an unprecedented amount of traffic to their sites, although they had already undergone the process of selecting only certain fans to receive presale codes. Ouachita’s campus was not immune to the Taylor Swift ticket-buying madness, and our school was abuzz with chatter surrounding the artist throughout the day. By the end of the day on Tuesday, millions of fans, including many from OBU, rejoiced with tickets safely tucked away in their possession, but a large number of fans felt defeated, having gone through a large hassle only to come out empty-handed.
The story begins on Nov. 1, when Swift announced her upcoming tour entitled “The Eras Tour,” which will feature songs from each of the albums she has released throughout her sixteen-year musical career. The tour announcement followed the release of her immensely popular album “Midnights,” which broke multiple records and invited millions of listeners from around the world when it was released at midnight on Friday, Oct. 21. Fans immediately began the ticket-buying process, signing up for the TaylorSwiftTix presale, which is Ticketmaster’s way of verifying fans. The website only sends presale codes to a limited number of consumers, while putting others on a waitlist. This is supposed to make the approach to buying tickets more simple and stream-lined, but for The Eras Tour, this was definitely not the case.
Those who received a presale code were assigned the time of 10 a.m. on Nov. 15th to buy their tickets, but as millions of fans logged on, the sites could not handle the traffic. Fans experienced multiple site crashes, prolonged wait times, and the inability to actually enter their information on the website to purchase the tickets. Ticketmaster and Seatgeek both temporarily paused the queue for ticket-buying in order to help their programs catch up with the congestion to the site, but this only exacerbated the problem, causing many fans to anxiously sit in queues for hours with no luck. Despite the many problems fans experienced, over 2 million tickets were sold on Tuesday. Ticketmaster stated that this was the most tickets sold in a single day for any artist on the site.
Many fans left the site after eight hours or more without the coveted tickets. However, committed fans held onto hope for the public sale of tickets scheduled for Friday, Nov. 19. A disappointing message from Ticketmaster on Thursday, Nov. 17 put a swift end to this optimism, though. The ticket-selling organization announced that they would be canceling the scheduled public on-sale of tickets, citing high demands for tickets and “insufficient remaining ticket inventory.” Ticketmaster released a statement that concluded that based on the amount of people that came to their site in search of tickets “Taylor would need to perform over 900 stadium shows (almost 20x the number of shows she is doing)… that’s a stadium show every single night for the next 2.5 years” in order for every person that wanted to buy tickets to have that opportunity.
Those who were relying on the public sale of tickets to make it to the concert were frustrated, and many voiced their concerns on social media. Taylor Swift herself responded to the controversy on Friday, Nov. 19, taking to Instagram to release a statement. The Grammy award-winning artist explained that she and her team would be taking steps to identify the problems and work toward improving them in the future. She addressed the difficulties those who were successful in purchasing tickets faced, while offering encouragement to those whose pursuit of tickets did not end in triumph. Swift wrote in an Instagram story post, “my hope is to provide more opportunities for us to all get together and sing these songs. Thank you for wanting to be there. You have no idea how much that means.”
A multitude of Ouachita students participated in the presale on Tuesday, with quite a few walking away with tickets. Ruthie Fox, a sophomore elementary education major, was able to snag a few seats to Taylor’s Concert for March 31st in Arlington, Texas, but her time buying tickets was anything but easy.
“I was very excited when I got a presale code for Taylor Swift tickets,” Fox said. “I have been a fan since her first album and have never seen her in concert, so I decided now is the time. I hopped on the site fifteen minutes before presale and waited for five hours, making it only about 25% of the way through the queue. I figured I wouldn’t get any tickets. Shortly after that, my page refreshed and I was able to buy tickets for myself and two friends!”
Fox’s story was similar to many other Ouachita students’ experiences. However, there are still many awaiting another announcement from the pop star that will open up more tickets to the public. Regardless if you are a Taylor Swift fan or not, this chaos surrounding her tour will undoubtedly affect concertgoers in the future, as artists and ticket-selling websites alike adapt to address problems and find solutions to make fans’ ticket-buying experience easier.