For Taylor Swift fans hoping to score tickets to one of three Tampa dates of the Eras tour, every minute on Ticketmaster has been death by a thousand cuts.
A crashing website. Hours spent in a queue. And then, for fans lucky enough to make it to the end of the line, soaring ticket costs that priced out many a devout Swiftie.
What does it take to prevail?
Maria Tarnoi, a Tampa epidemiologist, managed to snag tickets to see one show at Raymond James Stadium with her brother — $257 for two seats. Not bad, considering that some resale tickets have been listed at up to $22,000.
“But,” she wrote in an email. “The ordeal was not for the faint of heart.”
First, she spent four hours waiting in line to become a verified fan on Ticketmaster.
“Cue excited screaming. Little did I know the emotional rollercoaster that I was in for the following day with the Ticketmaster mayhem,” she wrote. “The day of the presale arrives, and I am armed and ready to go to battle in the Ticketmaster Hunger Games.”
She waited for five hours — and cycled through the five stages of grief. Then by some miracle, Tarnoi found herself at the end of the queue. The best available seats were actually positioned behind the stage, in the third to last row of her section. She added them to her cart anyway.
Not everyone was so fortunate.
Ani Kellermann wasted over 10 hours only to walk away from the process empty-handed thanks to website glitches and rapidly disappearing seats.
“Once again, Ticketmaster let me, my family, and specifically my 10-year-old, lifelong Swiftie sister down,” she wrote in an email.
Lauren Edwards spent five and a half hours in line with no technical problems.
“However, ticket prices were so outrageous that I didn’t get the tickets I wanted,” she wrote.
Britney Morris and a friend each tried to score tickets, waiting in the queue from 9:30 a.m. until mid-afternoon.
“Looks like we will be Swifting at home with the life-sized Taylor Swift cardboard cutout,” Morris said. “In the words of Taylor Swift, ‘This is why we can’t have nice things.’”
Other readers are hoping to take action against Ticketmaster, which has a monopoly in the music industry. Krista Brown, a senior policy analyst for the American Economic Liberties Project, emailed the Tampa Bay Times about how she helped launch the BreakUpTicketmaster.com campaign a few weeks ago. Over 12,000 emails have been sent through the campaign form to the Department of Justice in a call to reverse the 2009 merger between LiveNation and Ticketmaster, which would bring competition back to the industry. And just maybe, she hopes, make things more affordable again.
As problems ensued for fans, Taylor tickets dominated the conversation on social media:
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“It was the worst ticket buying experience ever. Snagged a ticket for 4/15. Ticket, gas, hotel. Not adding it all up yet. Don’t need the added stress.” — Nancy Masry via Facebook
“Absolutely no one DM us rn, we’re trying to get Taylor Swift tickets.” — the official Tampa Bay Lightning account via Twitter.
“I wouldn’t walk across the street to see her but reselling her tickets for $$$$$$!$$” — Darren Haas via Facebook
“All I want is to buy two Taylor Swift tickets to any of the Tampa shows and they’re literally gone so my life is now over,” @nslipko via Twitter.
“Never refreshed — just hung tight for 4 hours in queue (missed a college class), and got decent seats.” — Shelby Catherine Floyd via Facebook
“Never got any. Lost out.” — Mariana Portales via Facebook
“ur 34 buying a $749 floor ticket to see taylor swift in tampa, florida? ??! no i’m just making sure i heard that right.” — @corietjohnson via Twitter