The issue is how Swift’s fans can prove their devotion. They can preorder the CD of her forthcoming album, Reputation — and to receive it on the day of release costs $48.09 (That’s £37, but the CD itself costs $15. And you are allowed to buy the album 13 times to boost your place in the line.) You can buy merchandise from her online shop. If you do not want to spend money, you can get a smaller boost to your position by repeatedly watching her new video, or by posting about her on social media.
To a great many people, this doesn’t look like ensuring real fans get access to tickets. It looks like gouging as much money as possible out of them. It is “nothing more than a transparent cash grab”, said US magazine Alternative Press. “It makes getting tickets for a Taylor Swift concert into a game in which people with the most money get ahead,” suggested Jezebel.
If you haven’t read about it, Taylor Swift has introduced an odd way of selling tickets to concerts (which aren’t even scheduled yet). If you buy more copies of her new CD, then you get a better chance to get tickets. The problem is that it’s not guaranteed, and superfans can buy 13 copies of the albums to boost their place in line.
This is not only a bold-faced scam of her fans, many of whom are teenage girls, and which is probably illegal. But it’s also an attempt to game the album sales, to get it to top charts and eventually be declared gold or platinum (which would probably happen anyway).
I don’t go to enough concerts that are affected by the current ticket-selling madness – notably the “secondary market,” to which artists funnel tickets to make more money, but apparently this is a big problem.
But what Taylor Swift is doing is morally repugnant, and may even be criminal. I’m waiting for tickets to her concerts to go on sale, and for these people who ponied up extra cash to find that they still can’t get tickets. Then the lawyers and attorneys general will have their day.