Op-Ed: Dear Swifties and Congress, you need to calm down.

At 10 a.m. sharp on that dreaded day of November 15th, 2022, war began. My shaky fingers were ready to move when the laptop light dimmed and my focus was not torn from the 2000+ queue line that wouldn’t move. I couldn’t tell you what happened in any of my classes that day, for they seemed so insignificant compared to the crisis at hand. During AP U.S. History class I remember a brief mention of the market revolution in the 1820s, but my teenage brain said that checking Twitter for updates was way more important. When I saw that this real life rendition of the Hunger Games was trending at #1 on Twitter, I cackled. I didn’t think to look at any other tag below what was of highest importance to me. Later in the day, after I had secured my lower bowl seats and could finally allow myself to exhale, I went back to Twitter and my eyes got caught on what reached the third spot. 

The news reported that Russia bombed Poland, but Ticketmaster’s involvement with Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour was the most tweeted subject that day

With the lack of attention to issues impacting innocents across the globe, I began to question the legitimacy of those fighting against the ticket titans and their monopoly. Are people advocating for change in the American capitalist system, or are they just whining until they get the privilege of Taylor Swift tickets? 

Between the overpriced tickets, the scams, the monopolies, the lack of political awareness, and the calls to re-do the whole sale, it all just comes to show our society’s insane self-absorption. People have always been selfish, it’s just human nature, it’s also always been especially prevalent in American culture. America’s favorite adjective is capitalism, and what breeds egocentricity more than capitalism? 

Now let’s not be inconsiderate, people getting mad that they were scammed isn’t irrational, it makes sense. What is concerning is the far more call-to-action response it has received from government officials in comparison to human rights issues, like protests in Iran, the growing wealth gap, Roe v. Wade, among others. 

The main issue people have with the situation is that Ticketmaster sent out a total of 1.5 million presale codes, knowing there was only an availability of around 2.4 million tickets and that those with a pre-sale code were able to purchase up to 6 tickets for their party. On top of this, they didn’t include a verification of codes at the start of the queue which allowed for those who didn’t even have a code to enter the line despite not being able to buy tickets. All of these factors jumbled together to create the biggest wave crash the website had ever seen, with an apparent total of 3.5 billion system requests. It took hours for the queue to even start moving and still there were people who reached the checkout and lost their tickets. Another major issue is that many bots and people bought numerous tickets with the intent to resell for insane prices. 

Queue for Taylor Swift's Era's Tour
Our experience buying tickets for the Era’s Tour (Katheryn Consuegra)

After the whole fiasco, it’s safe to say that fans were enraged. Over two dozen Taylor Swift fans gathered together and created a thirty-three page complaint suing Ticketmaster and Live Nation for alleged fraud, misrepresentation and multiple antitrust violations. Their complaint seeks to get a payout of $2,500 per violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law, which might just help them afford a nosebleed resale ticket. Ticketmaster has successfully ruined the experience of seeing live music with their large greed and monopolization over the industry, but this has been going on for a long time. 

Controversy and outrage over Ticketmaster’s overpriced ticket fees have been around since the 90s. Many recall Pearl Jam’s failed boycotting attempt of the company. I remember how even in an episode of Gilmore Girls, set in the early 2000s, the character Lorelai says “Or [do you want to] buy some tickets at Ticketmaster and wind up paying more in service chargers than it would cost you to see the band?” 

Congressmen, senators, and representatives like Dem. Representative AOC, Dem. Senator Klobuchar, Rep. Senator Mike Lee, Rep. attorney general Jonothan Skrmetti, and others have spoken out on this issue calling Ticketmaster a “monopoly” and calling for a termination of the merger between Ticketmaster and Live Nation. This large uprise of backlash from government officials from both the Democratic and Republican parties is humoring. Out of all the issues in the world it seems that the one thing that the Republican and Democratic parties can agree on is over their bad experience with Ticketmaster. There is a recession threat coming our way, people can’t afford to pay for their food or living expenses, but this is where U.S. government officials decide that capitalism has been taken too far. 

Ticketmaster being a monopoly isn’t a bad thing because some rich congressmen couldn’t get tickets for their daughters’ favorite singer. Instead, it’s because the company is taking advantage of their power with the lack of competition in the industry to control ticket prices to make it impossible for many to enjoy the entertainment of seeing their favorite artists perform live.

I couldn’t help but notice that after scrolling through various news articles, tweets, and TikTok videos that all of these people are simply arguing for the privilege of a ticket. They seem so close to understanding that there is a fight against the growing wealth gaps, conditions of exploited workers, and the growing power of numerous monopolies that they could be helping towards. 

If you are someone who even had the finances to afford Taylor Swift tickets it is a sign that you already have it better than a lot of people in the world. Being mad about the ticket-purchasing experience is valid, but it seems like people are exploiting these ideas of change until they get rewarded with concert tickets. Fight and attention can’t just stop at Ticketmaster, because they don’t even make it to the top worst monopolies that are causing genuine damage. If people and congress are uniting to fight against these extreme incorporations of capitalism within the United States, they should make that clear by not intending to stop after they gain recompense from taking down Ticketmaster.