Taylor Swift cracked the concert ticket inflation problem and made an extra $50m

For years, artists and ticketing firms have tried to figure out strategies to beat scalpers and resell sites at their own games, and it looks like the code may have been cracked by none other than Taylor Swift.


October 19, 2018

Concert ticket prices are outrageous. And, though many artists are fighting the good fight to make it cheaper and more accessible to get fans in the seats, scalpers and resell sites continue to win out.

Now, Quartz reports, Taylor Swift may have cracked the code. Her plan: Make it damn near impossible to sell out shows.

Fun fact: If a concert sells out, it means the tickets were too cheap

When tickets are considered ‘underpriced’ (say, $100 for T Swift), more often than not some greasy Stubhub scalper named Bobby with an extensive collection of oversized Hooters tees will buy up as many tickets as their tentacles can snag and resell them for $300. 

Then — boom — that’s $200 profit a pop.

Back in March 2017, Al Doyle of the band LCD Soundsystem called out Stubhub via Twitter claiming all of LCD’s tickets on the site are “most certainly bullsh*t, DO NOT BUY THEM.”

T-Swift just couldn’t “Shake It Off”

In 2015, Swift sold out nearly every show on her tour within seconds — mainly because of scalpers grabbing them for resell sites — yet, according to the Financial Times, Swift lost out on an estimated $150m in revenue from selling her tickets below market value on that tour.

So, for her 2018 tour, Swift partnered with Ticketmaster (who has been caught up in its own “hush-hush” scalper controversy) to make sure she got that money back, and to make sure actual fans were able to buy tickets at a fair price.

Scamming the scammers

She used Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan platform, which scans online data to verify purchasers, and hiked the price of tickets sold elsewhere up to nearly $700 a pop for general admission — leaving an average of 600 unsold tickets at each show on the table.

And it worked. It may not have sold out completely, but Swift made an estimated additional $50m on this tour — and cut down her resell tickets from 30% in 2015 to 5% in 2018.

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