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Thursday 28 September 2023 Dublin: 14°C
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Taylor Swift slammed over controversial partnership with Ticketmaster that aims to stop touts
The singer is under fire over her endorsement of the ‘verified fan’ programme.


EARLIER THIS WEEK Taylor Swift and Ticketmaster announced that she would be using Ticketmaster’s ‘Verified Fan’ programme that supposedly keeps tickets from the hands of resellers.

The Verified Fan programme, which is currently only operating in the United States, requires fans to register in advance of ticket releases. After this, they receive a code that allows them to buy tickets, but not everyone is eligible to register.

Singles charts Dominic Lipinski Dominic Lipinski

Billboard explained exactly how this works:

Ticketmaster uses “proprietary data science technology” to try determine whether potential buyers are likely to be scalpers or fans – which presumably means no Swift tickets for Phish heads unless an algorithm determines they’re probably parents – and only approves the latter.
A couple of hours before tickets go on sale, Ticketmaster sends a text message with a code to some consumers – not everyone who qualifies gets one – who enter it to buy tickets much as they otherwise would.

Aside from concerns about data collection, this is problematic in another couple of ways.

Firstly, fans have been told that they can ‘maximise their chances’ of being selected for tickets by registering on, buying her merchandise and picking a city in which they want to the singer to perform.

This means that fans are being backed into a corner, where they are feeling as if they have to buy merchandise and share personal data such as their location with the singer’s website  (which is obviously beneficial to her and her label) in order to get concert tickets.

As if trying to get concert tickets for a child with huge expectations isn’t one of the most stressful things a parent can do already.

The programme has yet to roll out in Ireland, but it’s probably only a matter of time, considering the extra steps that Ed Sheeran is taking to stop touting for his Irish concerts.

Secondly, fans can’t even be certain that this will guarantee them tickets. Billboard’s Robert Levine who explains the Verified Fan programme shared his personal experience purchasing tickets for the Broadway show Hamilton.

Levine spent 30 minutes being told that excellent seats for the show were available but was met with an error message every time he attempted to purchase them.

He finally came back to the computer two hours later to try again and had to opt for below-average group of seats three months after the original date he attempted to buy tickets for and *finally* got the tickets.

As we all know, unlike Broadway shows that run for months, there’s very little flexibility for concert tickets.

Rock on the Range Music Festival 2016 - Day 1 Daniel DeSlover Rou Reynolds of Enter Shikari Daniel DeSlover

Enter Shikari vocalist Rou Reynolds ranted on Twitter about Swift and Ticketmasters ‘sickening’ ‘ultra-capitalistic exploitation of fans’.

PastedImage-16738 Rou Reyno / Twitter Rou Reyno / Twitter / Twitter

PastedImage-62719 Rou Reyno / Twitter Rou Reyno / Twitter / Twitter

Fans of Enter Shikari agreed with Reynolds.

However Swift’s super-fans rushed in to defend her, insisting that they all would have at least bought a hard copy of the album ahead of the concert anyway.

PastedImage-42066 Rou Reyno / Twitter Rou Reyno / Twitter / Twitter

Would fans really buy a hard copy of the CD in 2017 though? Whatever about back when they didn’t want to download it illegally, but everyone uses music streaming services.

Consequence of Sound pointed out that express delivery on the CD, which some people will ultimately opt for, brings the cost of a single CD up to $63.

PastedImage-63477 Consequence of Sound Consequence of Sound

This is the ‘cute animated video’ that Consequence of Sound were critical of:

Taylor Swift / YouTube

They sum it up with “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.”

Finally, they point out that fans are able to purchase Swift’s album ‘up to 13 times’ to receive boosts on their position in line.

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Written by Kelly Earley and posted on

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