ticket in back pocket at concert


Why is getting concert tickets still a terrible experience in 2022?

Why are we all putting up with this?


Tiffany Kelly

Internet Culture

Posted on Nov 19, 2022   Updated on Nov 21, 2022, 8:16 am CST

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Last fall, I tried and failed to buy tickets for a Mitski concert at a venue that holds 2,750 people. I tried two presale codes, and I couldn’t get tickets using either of them. I also didn’t secure tickets during the general sale. Luckily, my partner was able to grab two tickets.

I initially thought that the size of the venue was to blame—Mitski had grown even more popular since she last toured in 2019—but then I saw people talking about having the same experience trying to buy tickets for her shows in every city. Getting tickets for any of her shows was difficult.

Fans either received error messages or tickets they selected disappeared before they were able to check out. All in all, it was a poor user experience. I hoped Ticketmaster would learn from these chaotic presales and create a better ticket-purchasing experience. Instead, it’s only gotten worse.

Throughout this year, I avoided Ticketmaster sales for popular artists. I either booked tickets directly at local venues—where buying tickets is a breeze—or I searched for reasonable resale tickets on other sites. For one of the most in-demand artists I saw this year, Harry Styles, I bought resale tickets four hours before the show, and my seats were good. But after listening to Midnights on repeat, I decided to try my luck at the Taylor Swift Ticketmaster presale this week, and I encountered the same error messages I did a year ago. After selecting more than a dozen seats that never ended up in my cart, I decided to save some of my remaining sanity and time and close out of the website.

Fans reported spending several hours to secure Taylor Swift tickets. People made memes and tried to help each other through technical glitches to pass the time. On Thursday afternoon, Ticketmaster announced that it canceled the public sale for the tour. Why are we all putting up with this? I kept thinking this week. There has to be a more efficient way to buy concert tickets.

Why it matters

Buying tickets to a concert seems like a process we should have nailed down by 2022. But it’s become overtaken by bots and ticket scalpers, who purchase tickets and turn around to immediately sell them for quadruple (or higher) than the original price. A site like Ticketmaster should be prepared to handle a popular artist—but issues like website failures are instead blamed on outside forces.

The only way to seemingly avoid ticket-buying madness is to buy tickets last-minute from a reseller who is running out of time to turn a profit.

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*First Published: Nov 19, 2022, 6:00 am CST