August 30, 2017 3:17 pm

Taylor Swift criticized for new ticket sale plan with Ticketmaster

Taylor Swift performs onstage during the 2017 DIRECTV NOW Super Saturday Night Concert at Club Nomadic on February 4, 2017 in Houston, Texas.

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for DIRECTV
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Taylor Swift is working with Ticketmaster to let fans earn “boosts” to improve their chance of getting tickets to her Reputation tour.

The boosts include posting about the singer on social media, watching her new music video and buying her album or merchandise. Doing any of these activities will put fans ahead in an online queue when tickets to Swift’s latest live shows go on sale.

A statement for the partnership between Swift and Ticketmaster says, “Taylor Swift is committed to getting tickets into the hands of fans…NOT scalpers or bots.”

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“So she’s collaborating with Ticketmaster #VerifiedFan to create an exclusive program to help YOU get the best access to tickets in North America, in a really fun way,” the statement continues.

The statement adds: “Once you register, improve your place in line by participating in boost activities until initial registration closes on Nov 28.”

Swift’s partnership with Ticketmaster is part of the ticket website’s #VerifiedFan service, which lets fans register their interest with the website to get a special code to access pre-sales.

READ MORE: Taylor Swift announces new album ‘Reputation’ release date

Ticketmaster’s website states that their #VerifiedFan “was designed to separate actual, human fans from bots and scalpers. The system aims to thwart bad actors who are in the business of taking away tickets from fans just so they can resell them.”

Swift’s fans are still able to register to get a code for ticket pre-sales, but those who spend money and do more online will be in a better position in the line for tickets when they become available.

A promotional video for Swift and Ticketmaster’s campaign, titled Taylor Swift Tix, says it is designed to prevent bots from getting tickets over fans, advertising “unique activities that advance your spot in line.”

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“Based on the activities you participate in, your place in line will move up and down. The better your spot in line, the better the opportunity to access tickets,” the voiceover says, while focusing on the image of a progress bar that keeps track of how close you are to unlocking tickets.

Fans can “boost” their place in line by watching the video for Look What You Made Me Do up to five times per day, posting about Swift on linked social media accounts, and pre-ordering the CD for her album Reputation up to 13 times.

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Fans can continue to boost their place in line with their chosen activities until the Taylor Swift Tix portal closes registration on Nov. 28.

The partnership between Swift and Ticketmaster has been criticized by fans and some musicians.

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Rou Reynolds, from Enter Shikari, tweeted about his feelings towards the strategy.

“The most sickening thing is that this ultra-capitalistic exploitation of fans is beneath a veneer of morality — stopping ticket bots/touts,” Rou wrote on Twitter.

He accused Swift of “replacing” the bots herself.

He also accused her of prioritizing “profit over people” and “accumulation over art”.

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Some Swift fans took to Twitter to express their disappointment in the strategy.

Some fans who joined the #TaylorSwiftTix have been documenting issues with the system.

Others have been sharing their Swift posts in order to get boosts.

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In response to the criticism, Swift’s spokesperson has defended the campaign: “If these same tickets were offered on the open market, scalpers would snatch them up and fans would be paying thousands of dollars for them. Scalpers and bots will not take the time to engage in legitimate fan activity.”

The statement continues: “Taylor rewarding her fans for posting selfies, watching YouTube videos and downloading her albums, things her fans are already doing, is a great thing. This is a program that rewards fans for being fans and makes sure they get great tickets at face value.”

Ticketmaster has also provided a statement on their Verified Fan program. David Marcus, head of music for Ticketmaster North America said: “We worked closely with Taylor Swift to craft a unique approach to our Verified Fan program that rewards her fans with access to the best tickets first.”

Marcus also said that, “By removing bots and scalpers from the equation, and adding a series of fun activities to help registrants boost their spot in line through our official Verified Fan Activity Meter, we’re able to ensure that tickets make it into the hands of Taylor’s most avid fans, at fan-friendly prices.”

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Swift isn’t the first artist to use Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan system.

This week, Bruce Springsteen fans who wanted to see “Springsteen on Broadway” were not pleased when the presale tickets appeared for nearly $10,000.

Tickets went on sale at 10 a.m. Wednesday, and randomly selected people who registered via Verified Fan were able to purchase tickets using offer codes they received hours before tickets went on sale.

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Springsteen announced that he would combat bots by using the Verified Fan system, but tickets were available almost immediately after the presale on StubHub.

Fans complained on social media about getting error messages and the high ticket prices on StubHub for resale tickets.

Retail prices ranged from $75 to $850, but the cheapest tickets available on StubHub cost over $1,000.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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