Taylor Swift is a capitalist. That’s where her ticketing debacle starts.

In 2004, Scott Borchetta received a package from a young country artist looking for the best deal ever. Along with the song demos, “there was the Abercrombie and Fitch catalog,” Borchetta recalled in an interview with Inc. magazine. “And I’m like, well you don’t see that every day.”

Borchetta is the record executive credited with discovering one of the greatest musical artists of all time. But before she even released her first single, Swift had modeled for the preppy clothing brand. In the catalogue, she had bookmarked a picture of herself holding a guitar and wiping her eye with a tissue (probably a nod to her song “Teardrops on My Guitar,” which would get was released a few years later). “She was a very attractive girl,” Borchetta told Inc., noting that she looked older than her 14 years, and therefore had a shot at breaking into the country music market.

Do it she did. Today, as Swift’s fans are apparently being left without tickets for the upcoming tour which will showcase her various “phases” – from the curly hair and Southern accent Taylor to Pride Taylor, gay-rainbow – we are facing the least fun version of Swift. again: Capitalist Taylor. So far, most of the anger has fallen on Ticketmaster, the monopolistic concert and ticketing conglomerate, while Swift has received less opprobrium, perhaps because of the intimate fantasy relationship she has cultivated in during her career. But as that A&F catalog showed all those years ago, Swift has always been one for cultivating brand synergy. Fans, finally noticing this, seem heartbroken.

Last month, Cosmopolitan judged Swift to be “Scrooge McDuck – rich levels,” citing an estimate given by her ex-.Midnight net worth of $570 million. Her 2018 stadium tour for Good name is the highest-grossing tour of all time in the United States. In 2019, she secured a multi-year deal with Capital One, shortly before release Lover. His single “ME!” soundtracked an ad for a 4 percent cash back card, and Capital One cardholders were treated to a “one-of-a-kind Taylor Swift t-shirt,” which came bundled with a digital version of the album .

For the “Eras” tour, one way to boost your chances of scoring an entry code for the hunger games presale was to buy lots of Swift merch (for example: a wall clock interface designed to be hung with four Midnight CDs, sold separately). He also promised a special “Eras” trip presale for Capital One cardholders, which led to several pieces of service journalism encouraging Swifties to take out a line of credit.

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Not that it could have been of much help to them. The idea was that the two presales were going to give dedicated fans a chance to buy tickets before the general public (and scalpers too). It would have been a mistake to assume that logging into Ticketmaster at the scheduled time with your code in hand would allow you to quietly exchange money for goods and services — this was Swift’s first tour in four years, after the whole. But the process was clearly stressful. Supporters experienced a website that could not accommodate the traffic, and waiting times of hours in a digital queue.

Before the Capital One sale, a couple of friends and I carefully strategized how much we would pay for tickets, and even made contingency plans for what we would do if we couldn’t get enough for everyone in our group. When we finally got to a screen showing us a stadium seating chart, we only got two “Karma is My Boyfriend” packages for $755 each, way out of our price range. (What made the packages a few hundred dollars better than just plain floor seats? They reportedly come with extras like VIP entrance to the stadium, an “Eras” tour tote, and a “VIP shopping option crowd-free.) Not that we could have bought them anyway; within seconds, one of them was gone from the screen. But they might have left the ether before the light from the computer even had time to reach our eyes in the first place – a colleague reported seeing tons of tickets available, only to spend 45 minutes clicking to find out over and over that his selection wasn’t available.. And it wasn’t, as we were promised , a chance to try another auction to the public — which Ticketmaster had to cancel due to a lack of inventory.

Ticketmaster, which is essentially the only way to buy tickets for many concerts and sporting events in large venues, was the villain of this mess, everyone decided. “Trying to fight Ticketmaster in 2022 is trying to make war on God,” Kelsey McKinney wrote at Defector. In Slate, Ron Knox observed that the debacle has reignited calls from politicians like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for the Ticketmaster monopoly to be broken up — and may even radicalize Swifties themselves.

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Slowly, it seemed to dawn on fans just how much Swift himself have been to benefit even from this crappy ticket buying experience. A viral TikTok featuring a woman sitting dejectedly in her car captioned the whole mess was “Taylor’s capitalistic circus on full display”… I’m going to say that I officially turned off by Taylor.” In the New Republic, Timothy Noah also ends up placing the “blame” on Swift, in two ways. There is the fact that she is extremely popular. On Tuesday, he sold 2 million tickets, Noah writes – “more than any previous act – Enrico Caruso, Rudy Vallee, Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, Michael Jackson – has ever sold in one day.” Then, dynamic pricing arises. Swift, like many artists, agreed to allow Ticketmaster to raise the prices on seats in response to demand. This isn’t necessarily as bad as it sounds, Noah reasons: Would you rather be gouged by Stubhub, or by Swift herself? Probably, sure, run me over, Taylor. And if tickets were cheaper, that could benefit the public, but it would still leave a core problem: There would be even more demand for them, and therefore less numerous.

On Friday, Swift released a statement on Instagram stating that she was “trying to figure out how this situation can be improved moving forward” and while she was pleased that 2.4 million people were able to get tickets, “it’s disappointed me that much. they feel like they went through several bear attacks to get them.” Ultimately, the number of Swift tickets available in this world is limited to how long she’s willing to stand in front of a crowd and sing. I can only imagine that she might be sitting amongst her riches and, at some point, feeling a little tired of the sheer number of people rioting angrily because they won’t be able to get a look at her this spring. The Beatles gave up touring after six years; Swift has been doing it for more than double that. She could quit and be justified in doing so. And she has done some commendable things over the years, like using her influence to help artists get some money when their songs are streamed during Apple Music’s free trial, as David Turner described in Slate in 2018.

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But the fans she still takes money from, and for some of us, being asked to pay hundreds of dollars to see her live (if we’re very lucky!) feels confusing, especially when our parasocial relationships with her can run so deep. . My first encounter with Swift’s music was when I was 16. A friend from a summer camping trip sent me a mix CD featuring other musical acts such as the Jonas Brothers—and one Taylor Swift song, “Stay Beautiful,” which she hopes . love interest will wind up with her, but wish him good will even if he doesn’t. The words were just better than anything else that had been offered to me by artists of my age. I looked it up and I was hooked.

I can accept that in the following decade and more, this woman has become too popular for me to see her journey at this time. I understand that she should earn money in return for her work. And Swift certainly didn’t invent the idea of ​​being a spokesperson for goods and services. But even so it kind of sucks to be turning over poetry Midnightwhile the Capitalist Taylor took the opportunity to try to sell me a credit card and yet another shirt.

This summer, I received an email from Taylor Nation, Swift’s company. He didn’t announce new music, or alert me to tour dates. He was letting me know about a Memorial Day sale on branded towels. Yes, my favorite poet was spamming me: If I bought two towels, I could get a 10 percent discount.

“It goes without saying that I am extremely protective of my fans,” she writes in her statement on Friday. In fact, I think we can say she isn’t. And that’s fine. It’s just the entertainment business. It was never personal.


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