Taylor Swift and Ticketmaster launch controversial pay-to-play ticketing system
Fans must purchase Swift-related music and merch to increase their chances of purchasing concert tickets
Taylor Swift dropped “Look What You Made Me Do” on Thursday night, and the internet responded by briefly taking a break from arguing about Donald Trump to argue about the pop star. Is the whole record about Kanye or just a few painfully obvious lyrics in the lead single? Is a Father John Misty diss track next? Is Swifty entering a Hot Topic goth stage? That album cover: y tho? And so on. However, seemingly lost in all of this was the announcement that Swift and monopolistic ticketing behemoth Ticketmaster were partnering on something called “Taylor Swift Tix powered by Ticketmaster Verified Fan,” a service that claims to help get tickets in the hands of fans instead of bots or scalpers—if fans are willing to help promote Swift and purchase things from her.
“Your boosts are automatically applied for up to five views, per day. Watch every day and receive your boosts,” the site not-so-subtly advises. Fans can also flood their social media with posts about Tay Tay and her new record for further lower level boosts. This allows Swift and Ticketmaster to say fans don’t have to buy anything to join in on the “fun”—but it will admittedly increase your chances at tickets if you do. Clearly, this system benefits the pop star’s wealthiest fans. It’s all spelled out in this cute animated video that seems directly targeted at the young girls who make up much of Swift’s fanbase:
So basically, give Swift a lot of extra money or join her publicity team to ensure you have not a ticket—but simply a place in line for the opportunity to purchase a ticket. Whatever path the singer’s ticket-seeking acolytes are able to take, Swift benefits from a system clearly designed to squeeze every last dollar from her obsessive fanbase in a total perversion of what the Verified program is supposedly all about: the fans. What Swift and Ticketmaster have essentially done is alleviate the stress and anxiety of dealing with scalpers… by making Swift herself one. What else do you call someone who charges you more than the listed price for a ticket to a concert? Not only that, Swift is charging extra to ensure a place in line for tickets—not the tickets themselves.
Something that’s especially troubling in all of this is the fact that you can purchase Swift’s new album up to 13 times to receive further boosts to your spot in line. There is even a “progress bar” showing how your purchases are advancing your place in the virtual line. The mere suggestion that fans could (and should) purchase an album more than once is egregiously immoral and seems to be clearly directed at the younger, more illogical, more obsessed factions of her fanbase who will do anything to appease their hero—who in turn will apparently do anything to appease her corporate partners. That Swift and Ticketmaster are masquerading this unscrupulous, ultra-capitalist campaign as a highly moral attempt to help fans and squeeze out scaplers is a further insult, and one the singer—whose squeaky clean image becomes further exposed as a facade with each passing day—should be ashamed of herself for being involved in.