OPINION: Making a Swift buck

Views: Peter Grenville
Views: Peter Grenville
18 September 2017 4:40PM

SINGING megastar Taylor Swift doesn’t like ticket touts. But she loves her fans. If only there was a way to put the two things together and just make everything all lovely.

Luckily for her, her chums at ticketing agency Ticketmaster in the US have helped her come up with a smashing idea that foils the touts (boo!) and rewards the fans (hurrah!).

No-one wants those nasty ticket touts buying up all the scrummy tickets for her gigs and depriving her adoring “Swifties” of their chance to see their heroine in all her shiny live splendour.

So they’ve come up with the idea of letting her fans improve their chance of getting a ticket by letting them earn “boosts”. These could be for things they’re already doing, such as downloading Taylor’s albums, watching her videos on YouTube, posting selfies and buying merchandise.

The touts won’t be doing that, so the people who deserve to get tickets are higher up the queue and access a ticket pre-sale. So far, so sparkly.

But hang on a moment – when I was a callow youth, I had to save up to purchase the latest releases from my favourite artists. And I certainly couldn’t afford to buy T-shirts, hoodies or any of the other items available with my heroes emblazoned on them.

So, if Swift’s wealthier supporters snap up the clothing, jewellery, baseball cap and phone stand, they presumably have a better chance of actually bagging a ticket than her less well-off fans who can only afford the album and are desperately saving up for a gig ticket.

And anyway, if you can re-sell tickets for loads more that you purchased them, what’s to say a tout won’t buy some gear to make sure they get them? Plus, anyone who has even a passing interest in technology will have heard of automated “bots” online, which could be used to produce video views, or take whatever action is needed to up the creator’s chances of being at the front of the virtual queue for those very re-sellable tickets.

Ticketmaster’s motives must be pure, though, right? They obviously want to stop people buying tickets then reselling them at an inflated price for good, moral reasons. But ticket-reselling site GetMeIn! is owned by them, and they seem pretty comfortable to charge a tidy processing fee and a delivery charge.

I’m not pretending I have the answers here. Maybe the fans who want the tickets the most will also be the ones willing to do/buy sufficient stuff to ensure they’ve got the best chance of getting them.

Compared to when I first started going to gigs, tickets are now hugely expensive, so any idea that helps stop prices being artificially pushed higher by touts exploiting people desperate to see their idol should be considered carefully.

There has to be a good solution to this that thwarts the greedy touts and benefits the fans fairly. This isn’t it. Taylor and Ticketmaster will find this damaging to their Reputation.

But probably not their bank balance.

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