In 2004, a young country musician seeking for a record deal sent Scott Borchetta a package. According to Borchetta in an interview with Inc. magazine, in addition to the song demos, “there was an Abercrombie and Fitch catalog.” And I said, “Well, that’s not something you see every day.”
One of the most successful musicians of all time was reportedly discovered by record executive Borchetta. Swift, though, had already modeled for the preppy clothing company before she even dropped her debut single.
She had saved a photo of herself holding a guitar and dabbing her eye with tissue from the catalog, perhaps as a reference to her song “Teardrops on My Guitar,” which would be released a few years later. She was a “really gorgeous girl,” according to Borchetta, who told Inc. that she had a good chance of succeeding in the country music industry because she appeared older than her 14 years.
She did make it. Today, as it appears that a sizable number of Swift fans are unable to purchase tickets for the upcoming tour, which will feature all of her various “eras”—from the curly-haired, Southern-accented Taylor to the rainbow-gay Pride Taylor—we are presented with the least entertaining Taylor yet: the capitalist.
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Swift has gotten considerably less criticism thus far than Ticketmaster, the monopolistic concert and ticketing behemoth, maybe as a result of the close-knit fandom she appears to have developed during her career. But as that A&F catalog from years ago demonstrated, Swift has long been a proponent of building brand affinity. Finally seeing this, fans appear devastated.
Welcome to ‘Swiftonomics’: What Taylor Swift Reveals About the US Economy / this transfers wealth from ppl w lower levels of average wealth to those with higher levels of wealth…. https://t.co/4N9XonCdJV
— Victor Shih (@vshih2) November 23, 2022
Swift was described as being “Scrooge McDuck-levels of affluent” by Cosmopolitan last month, giving a figure for her pre-Midnights net worth of $570 million. The highest-earning U.S. tour ever is her 2018 stadium tour for Reputation. She signed a multiyear contract with Capital One in 2019, soon before the release of Lover. Capital One cardholders had the opportunity to purchase a “one-of-a-kind Taylor Swift t-shirt,” which was included with a digital copy of the album. Her hit “ME!” served as the soundtrack for a promo for a 4 per cent cash-back card.
Having purchased a lot of Swift merchandise was one strategy to increase your chances of receiving an entrance ticket for the presale hunger games for the “Eras” tour (for example a wall clock interface that is designed to be hung with four Midnight CDs, sold separately).
(Update, 11/21: Unlike the last Reputation tour, where the number of items purchased was expressly linked to the position in line, this time around, the method used to reward devoted fans with “boosts” was less clear.)
— Zlati Meyer (@Zlatimeyer) November 23, 2022
Additionally, she assured Capital One cardholders of a special “Eras” tour presale, which prompted multiple pieces of service journalism advising Swifties to open a credit account.
Not that it would have been much of a help. The two presales were intended to provide devoted fans with the chance to acquire tickets before the general public (and scalpers, too).
Since this was Swift’s first tour in four years, it would have been incorrect to believe that getting onto Ticketmaster at the designated moment with your code in hand would enable you to peacefully swap money for goods and services. But the procedure was undoubtedly grueling. Fans encountered a website that could not handle the volume of visitors and hours-long waits in a virtual line.
My friends and I carefully considered how much we would pay for tickets before the Capital One presale. We even came up with backup plans in case we weren’t able to get enough for everyone at our party. Only two “Karma is My Boyfriend” packages, each costing $755, were presented to us when we finally arrived at a screen displaying a stadium seating map.
“Right now, Swift’s ‘The Eras Tour’ tickets are available only on the secondary market and they’re anything but cheap. About 2.4 million were sold last week before Ticketmaster suspended the official pre-sale.”https://t.co/dwkH3uT9oH
— Dan Papscun (@papscun) November 23, 2022
(What made the packages’ superiority over basic floor chairs by several hundred dollars? VIP access to the stadium, an “Eras” tour tote, and a “crowd-free VIP shopping option” are reportedly included extras. Since one of them vanished from the screen in a matter of seconds, we couldn’t have purchased them anyway.
But perhaps they had already left the ether before the computer’s light ever had a chance to reach our eyes; a colleague described seeing a tonne of tickets that were available but then spending 45 minutes clicking repeatedly to discover that his choice was unavailable. Furthermore, Ticketmaster had to cancel the option for us to try again at a public sale due to a shortage of inventory, contrary to what we had been promised.
Everyone agreed that the culprit in this whole mess was Ticketmaster, which is effectively the only option to get tickets for many concerts and sporting events at large venues. In Defector, Kelsey McKinney penned the following quote: “To try and oppose Ticketmaster in 2022 is to try and wage a war against God.” Ron Knox wrote on Slate that the disaster has rekindled calls for the Ticketmaster monopoly to be broken up from lawmakers like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and might even have radicalized Swifties themselves.
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Fans gradually began to realise how much Swift herself stood to gain even from this terrible ticket-buying experience. An image from a popular TikTok shows a woman sitting down in her car, dejected, with writing beneath it that reads, “I’m going to say I’m definitely turned off by Taylor. The whole situation was Taylor’s capitalistic circus on full display.”
Timothy Noah in the New Republic finally “blames” Swift in two different ways. There’s also the fact that she is absurdly well-liked. More than any other act—Enrico Caruso, Rudy Vallee, Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, Michael Jackson—ever sold in a single day, according to Noah, she sold 2 million tickets on Tuesday. The issue of changeable pricing is another.
Swift, like many other musicians, gave Ticketmaster permission to increase ticket prices in response to demand. Noah argues that this isn’t always as bad as it seems: Would you rather be overcharged by Swift herself or by Stubhub? Okay, Taylor, I guess you may run me over. Even if tickets were more affordable, there would still be a major issue because there would be fewer of them because of the increased demand.
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