This week was a shocker for many Taylor Swift fans. Swifties were left breathless when Swift announced a concert tour in 2023. Swift’s concert tours have always been must-see events, and the upcoming “Eras Tour”Her first stadium tour in five year will be the occasion. Fans will first need to purchase concert tickets from Ticketmaster.
It is not difficult to see the anatomy of a concert tickets sale these days. Twitter and all social media explode in vitriol against Live Nation and Ticketmaster as people realize how hard it can be for them to sell tickets on their websites. Many people, along with thousands of bots, are trying to purchase the same tickets. Without fail, angry fans react after each sale.
There is a solution and it does not involve praying and hoping for technological fixes. It’s not about undoing the laws that have made scalping tickets legal over the last decade, either. The solution is simpler. Revert to the old method of doing business. Sell the tickets in person to people waiting in line in the basement of a department store or one of the handful of record stores that still exist or even–gasp–the actual box office of the venue. It worked for decades, it still works.
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It used to be that you had to show up at the venue early or even the night before to purchase tickets. My friends and me would plan for days to secure tickets for highly-requested tickets. Some would try one outlet and others would go to other outlets. We would stand at the outer doors of the department store, usually with a couple of dozen other like-minded fans along with some sketchy-looking characters that were surely scalpers—the old-fashioned type of scalpers, think Demone from Ridgemont High – Fast Times.
The doors would be opened by the staff and we’d power walk our way to the ticket outlet counter, usually in the basement somewhere, where we’d line up and wait for another staff member to hand out carnival tickets with numbers on them. A few minutes before the tickets were set to go on sale, they would draw a number from a hat and whoever had that ticket would be first in line and we’d all line up behind them in numerical order according to our carnival ticket.
It was a pain in your ass! You bet. Have I ever been denied tickets to a concert that I wanted to attend? Nope, never. It was worth the effort and if you are willing to work hard on Saturdays, tickets will almost always be yours. U2, The Grateful Dead, Guns N’ Roses…it didn’t matter how popular the band was, getting tickets just meant trying. Now? That’s all different.
There are no longer ticket outlets. Box offices are only open on the days of shows in order to distribute will-call tickets. Almost all ticket sales now take place online. You can’t even call a number anymore like you could in the ‘90s. Concert-goers are at the mercy of a system that is filled with scam accounts, bots, scalpers, and thousands of other fans all trying to do what you’Re-doing from the comfort of their sofas. It’s too easy to try, while it’s too hard to actually get the tickets.
All this madness will end if ticket buying is made easy again. They might also sell bongs in record shops again to calm everyone down.