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Ticket Trauma, Eras Tour Swiftly Descends to Chaos

Taylor Swift announced yet another tour that would crash Ticketmaster's website and end with touts selling tickets for thousands of dollars.

Charlie Gardener
Charlie Gardener
November 17, 2022
6
min read
Taylor SwiftTaylor Swift
SeatlabNFT

An NFT event ticketing marketplace helping artists foster closer connections with fans, eliminating fraud and reducing the impact of scalping.

At this point, it's an all-too-familiar story. A megastar announces a new tour only for the ticketing platform's website to crash, leaving real fans empty-handed and ticket touts lining their pockets.

This story always seems to linger around the likes of Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Harry Styles, Justin Bieber and other megastars.

It's Taylor's turn, again, this time.

Pre-presale troubles

Presale tickets went on sale at 10 am. At 9 am, users were already reporting issues with Ticketmaster's website. By the time the presale tickets actually went on sale, the website was experiencing huge issues, leaving millions of fans out of luck and in a digital waiting room going nowhere fast.

Ticketmaster's Verified Fan programme is designed to stop these things from happening and ensure tickets find their way into the hands of real fans, not touts who use automated bots to scoop up bucketloads of tickets to resell at massive markups.

Despite their best efforts, the ticketing giant has failed to improve the ticketing experience many times in the past. We've seen Bruce Springsteen, Harry Styles and, of course, Taylor Swift come under fire for how tickets to their shows are sold.

The presale queue was invite-only via Ticketmaster's Verified Fan programme. To get a Verified Fan invite, you had to register before the presale went live; if you were lucky, you'd receive a unique access code to join the presale waiting room.

However, getting your hands on an access code was just the first step and was no guarantee, as many people found out, of getting a ticket.

Ticketmaster themselves say:

~~"Receiving an invitation means that you'll have the opportunity to shop for tickets; however, the ability to purchase tickets is determined by supply and demand, and is not guaranteed. Tickets are available on a first come, first served basis."

You'd think, knowing how many people were given Verified Fan access codes, Ticketmaster would be able to anticipate the demand when presale tickets went live.

Well, that wasn't quite the case.

Before 10 am hit, people were already reporting that the platform wasn't working.

None of this stops touts from ruining the experience

Virtual waiting rooms, Verified Fan programmes, presales, and more do nothing to stop ticket touts from doing what they do best: turning what should be a moment of excitement and joy into a disappointing letdown.

Tools like The Insomniac Browser were explicitly designed for ticket scalpers to bypass virtual waiting rooms. Each new tab in the browser is seen as an entirely different session by websites, each with different IP addresses, clean cookies and unique device information. The Insomniac Browser let touts secure hundreds, if not thousands, of spaces in a virtual waiting room, while the real fans only get one shot each.

And a Verified Fan programme means nothing when anybody can register by fulfilling a few easy-to-achieve criteria.

The result is the same as it has always been: scalpers scooping up the majority of tickets, ticket allocations selling out in minutes, and real fans left with no choice but to shell out the big bucks to see their favourite artists.

$22,700 for a $49 ticket!

Despite presale tickets only being available to so-called "verified fans", not long after the sale went live, it was reported that $49 tickets were being listed on secondary market sites such as StubHub for as much as $22,700!

The ticket scalping issue is endemic, and this is proof that, despite putting some measures in place to protect fans, things aren't changing.

But there is a better way.

NFT ticketing, royalty splits and price ceilings

Here at SeatlabNFT, we're developing a next-generation ticketing platform using NFT technology. A blockchain is effectively just a publicly verifiable set of records. Anybody can view the data held on a blockchain, which is just one way it can make the opaque ticketing industry more open and transparent.

There are many benefits to using NFT ticketing platforms over their legacy counterparts, which we cover in this article.

But when it comes to beating professional ticket touts and making the ticketing process fairer for all, it's royalty splits and price ceilings that make all the difference.

Royalty splits let artists capitalise on demand without taking advantage of fans

Naturally, artists, their management and venues want to capitalise on demand. If an artist is so popular that demand outstrips ticket supply, why shouldn't they benefit from the true market value?

The problem lies in how they extract the true market value without hiking ticket prices (and dealing with the negative PR that comes with that) or adding more and more dates to a tour, unsustainably working themselves into the ground.

Current methods include dynamic pricing (which leaves fans paying high prices for in-demand shows) and, as we've discussed, some kind of presale for verified fans before a general sale.

We offer another option.

When a ticket is issued on our platform, it is issued as an NFT. This means we can program it to behave in a certain way using smart contracts; one way is to attach royalty splits to the ticket.

A royalty split will automatically send a percentage of any resale revenue back to a designated royalty beneficiary.

We'll use Taylor Swift's Eras Tour as an example; imagine it was ticketed via SeatlabNFT. Let's say John buys a ticket, but in the end, he can't go for whatever reason. He decides to sell that ticket to Jane on the secondary market for $50. If Taylor Swift's management had set a royalty split of 20% when creating ticket types, $10 of that sale would automatically be sent back to a wallet they control, while the remaining $40 would go to John.

Royalty Split Infographic
How royalty splits work

John is happy as he was able to recoup his money, Jane is happy as she finally gets to go to a Taylor Swift show, and Taylor Swift is, of course, happy with the additional revenue stream.

Secondary sales are a natural part of the ticketing cycle. People's plans change, and they need a way to sell tickets they no longer need, and others need a chance to get their hands on tickets they missed out on the first time around. But, it must be fair.

Royalty splits open up a new revenue stream for artists that, until now, hasn't existed. It means they can benefit from their show's demand without raising the prices of tickets for their fans.

But how does this stop scalpers?

Limit resale prices with price ceilings

Another powerful tool we offer sellers is the ability to set price ceilings. A price ceiling limits the amount a ticket can be resold for on the secondary market.

Combined with royalty splits, price ceilings give megastars the power to effectively fight back against scalping while at the same time capitalising on the natural demand for their shows without the public backlash that comes with the methods currently employed by the big-name ticketing giants.

Wrapping up

We're changing the ticketing landscape forever; no more touts, no more unfair practices.

Taming the touts and ensuring tickets find their way into the hands of real fans is just one part of what we do. We're also enhancing the event experience and letting artists directly connect with fans via our wallet app, heightening engagement and allowing fans to be rewarded with real, tangible value in the form of exclusive NFT collectables.

If you want to know more about what we do, or if you're an artist or event organiser looking to harness the power of NFT technology to take your events to the next level, get in touch with our team by emailing hello@seatlabnft.com.

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