Industry News

Taylor Swift backlash over ticket sale that favours those who also buy merchandise

Taylor Swift has been criticised by some followers after being accused of introducing a variation on Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan scheme that gives wealthier fans an advantage over others in securing tickets for her upcoming tour.

Verified Fan, which was launched earlier this year, has already been used in sales for major tours featuring acts such as Harry Styles, Ed Sheeran and Twenty One Pilots.

The platform asks those hoping to buy tickets to provide personal information including their phone number, email and social handles. Verified Fan then assesses whether they are human, looking for clues like past ticket-buying history and social posts, and lets ticket-buyers know if they’ve made the cut.

In announcing the Reputation Tour, Swift and Ticketmaster released a video (below) that said fans are invited to participate in “boost activities” which will “improve their place in line”. Fans can, for example, watch Swift music clips for free, but the video suggests they can also move up to ‘Priority’ category by going to ‘Shop the store’ to buy merchandise or by purchasing the singer’s album.

However, the terms and conditions suggest that even splashing the cash on Swift goodies may not be enough.

The sale terms read: “Your standing may change as more fans join the line and participate in boost activities. Keep checking back for new boost activities you can do everyday.”

However, some fans headed to social media to criticise the plan.

One fan said: “The only thing I don’t like about Taylor Tix is that they prioritize people who spend more money on merch/albums which not everyone has.” Another said: “Not everyone can compete in the spending hunger games for a chance to BUY a ticket to your show. You’re a disgrace.”

Ticketmaster did not respond to a request for response to the criticism. However, it should be noted that a similar Verified Fan promotion was run for Linkin Park earlier this year. Members of Linkin Park’s fan club were given priority access, while boosts could also be gained by pre-ordering the new One More Light album, inviting friends to sign up, and by sharing news about the tour on social media and email.

Ticketmaster said earlier this year that less than one per cent of tickets sold through the Verified Fan programme have so far ended up in secondary ticket markets, compared to what is usually a double-digit percentage.

IMAGE: Eva Rinaldi