Taylor Swift is inspiring the industry to move towards a ‘slow ticketing’ model in which prices will be higher, choice for consumers will be greater and there will be no instant sellouts.
Weeks after the American pop star’s Reputation tour tickets went on sale to the general public, hundreds of tickets were still listed on Ticketmaster.
The ticketing giant claims it has effectively shifted ticket sales back to the primary market, brought in more revenue for the artist and is changing the customer experience.
“We’d like to sell the last ticket to her concert when she takes the stage each night,” according to David Marcus, executive VP and head of music at Ticketmaster, Billboard reports. “We’re not trying to sell all of her tickets in one minute; we’re trying to figure out how to sell tickets in a more modern way.”
Through its use of Verified Fan, along with charging slightly higher prices, which fans are willing to pay, Ticketmaster is shifting the primary market to look more like the secondary.
Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan, which Swift has used for her Reputation tour, 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.
It is believed that fewer tickets are finding their way to resale platforms because of the ‘slow ticketing’ model as fans are able to grab official tickets at any time.
Taylor Swift’s 1989 tour sold 30 per cent of its tickets on the secondary market, according to Marcus. For her Reputation tour, only three per cent has ended up on the secondary market, which makes up around 70,000 tickets of a total of approximately 2.5 million tickets available.
“There’s less inventory on the secondary market and it’s more expensive because the tickets tend to skew toward premium seats,” said Jesse Lawrence, founder of TicketIQ, a search engine for primary and secondary tickets. Contrast that with the primary where “there are plenty of inexpensive tickets still available.”
However, the sharp increase in ticket prices has left some Swift fans feeling ripped off, and took to Twitter to complain about the $1,500 VIP tickets and $800 “Snake Pit” tickets.
Organisers have defended themselves by stating that tickets are being priced for what they would be on the secondary market.
“Change is not easy,” WME head of music Marc Geiger told Billboard, explaining that he has been pushing for smarter, market-driven pricing strategies.
“The idea that a consumer is going to sit in first class with an economy ticket is a holdover from what I used to call ‘rock and roll socialist pricing’.”