A week ago today I posted about Taylor Swift at the MTV EMAs and winning a lot of trophies, noting that when she shows up, chances are very good that she’ll collect some awards. In that post I wondered about Taylor and whether or not she’d show up to the American Music Awards. Well, she did show up, and yes, she won all the awards, including Artist of the Year.
She did not, however, perform, which means that she still has yet to perform live any tracks from her latest smash hit album, Midnights. Will Saturday Night Live get that exclusive in a few weeks?
Speaking of live performance, though, Taylor was in the headlines last week because tickets for The Eras tour went on sale and it was a f-cking mess on Ticketmaster. Ticketmaster ended up issuing a weak apology to her fans and didn’t really take responsibility for the debacle, making it sound like it was an isolated incident due to Taylor’s popularity. No doubt, she IS popular. But the fact is, this was a problem well before her fans tried to buy tickets to her shows. Her popularity only exposed the issues in the most mainstream way – and brought to light some other inequities, too.
John Oliver did a whole segment on Ticketmaster’s shady practices earlier this year. I’ve embedded the video below; it’s 20 minutes but it’s well worth your watch if you have time. He breaks down the Ticketmaster/Live Nation monopoly, and Ticketmaster’s involvement in the secondary market, the brokers who scam the ticketing system, asserting Ticketmaster’s “whole system is designed to be opaque”, accusing them of “turbo [charging] many of the sh-tty practices that have become industry standard”, and declaring that Ticketmaster is “one of the most widely loathed companies on the planet”.
At the end of the segment, John concludes that “much of the power” to change this situation and improve it for the fans belongs to the artists because “the biggest ones could do things to tamp down the secondary market”. Few artists are bigger than Taylor Swift and it’s not like she hasn’t taken on big corporations before.
Taylor issued a statement about Ticketmaster’s f-ckery the other day:
The most interesting part of her statement happens early, right off the top of the first paragraph: “I’ve brought so many elements of my career in house”. She doesn’t name Ticketmaster but she’s hinting here that she might consider bringing ticket sales in house because of how difficult it is for her to “trust an outside entity”. That’s obviously a major hypothetical at this point but even just floating the possibility, from an artist in her position, has them paying more attention for sure.
That said, even though it might seem to a lot of people that this only happened with Taylor’s tour, as John Oliver’s piece illuminates, Ticketmaster has been in shambles for a long time, and fans of many other artists have been screaming about their bullsh-t for a long time; it’s just that no one was paying attention. BTS’s ARMY, for example, has been trying to raise this issue with Ticketmaster for years. A group of BTS fans have been volunteering their time to compile research about this – this is the Twitter account of their task force. And while it must be a relief that Ticketmaster’s f-cksh-t was amplified last week, it’s probably also frustrating to feel like they were shouting into the wind for so long and nobody paid attention…until Taylor Swift fans sounded the alarm. It's an example of which fans are valued and which ones aren’t.
Are you a reporter or public official interested in how Ticketmaster treats consumers when the artist does NOT use dynamic pricing?? (Hint: BTS did not use dynamic pricing during pre-sales for their sold out shows in LA and LV.) Hit us up! We've got data! #Ticketmaster— TMTaskForce (@TMTaskForce) November 19, 2022
Now it’s a matter of how long this stays in the cultural consciousness. Will it happen again when Beyoncé tickets go on sale? Something to keep an eye on.
As for Taylor and her look from last night’s AMAs, given the hair style, it’s been a while since we’ve seen her wear it like this with the big curls, Swifties are now taking it to mean that it’s a sign that she’ll be re-recording and releasing Speak Now next.