Taylor Swift Tour Ticket Battle: 7 Tips From the Long, Frustrating Wait     – CNET

Taylor Swift Tour Ticket Battle: 7 Tips From the Long, Frustrating Wait – CNET

Stories trickling in from Tuesday’s frantic rush to get Taylor Swift tickets are varied, but many end the same way — in disappointment. Fans with a presale code were supposed to be able to buy tickets online Tuesday to the singer’s 2023 Eras tour, which is scheduled to begin in Arizona on March 17, 2023, but things often didn’t go smoothly.

Ticketmaster sent a tweet early Tuesday saying “We are aware fans may be experiencing intermittent issues with the site and are urgently working to resolve.” It later tweeted a statement that cited “historically unprecedented demand” for tickets, saying millions of people were attempting to buy them.

Many fans weren’t comforted by that, pointing out that Swift’s popularity is well-known, and that the ticket-selling site knew exactly how many presale codes were given out and thus should’ve been prepared for the onslaught.

Ticketmaster didn’t respond to a request for comment Wednesday on the problems. Ticket sales open to the general public on Friday at 10 a.m. local time.

Lucking out after five hours


Heather Reilly and her teen daughter lucked out on Tuesday and nabbed Taylor Swift tickets. They know they were among the fortunate ones.

Heather Reilly

But amid all the stories from dejected fans, one Philadelphia-area woman lucked out — after waiting on hold for more than five hours. Heather Reilly, 52, went after two tour tickets so she could take her 15-year-old daughter, a Swift fan for as long as Reilly can remember. After five hours, she scored two excellent, if pricey, tickets.

“I love live music, and it is one of the things I have missed the most during the pandemic,” Reilly told me. 

Striking out after eight hours

Wanda Rundle wasn’t as lucky, ending up without tickets after a frustrating eight-hour online wait.

“I’ve been a Taylor fan since her debut album,” Rundle told me. “She’s my favorite artist. I was pregnant with my son when I discovered her, and he’s grown up with her music. At 15, this would be his first major concert.” 

She was hoping for two or four tickets for a Chicago show but ended up with none.

I asked both women to walk me through their ticket experiences in hopes of learning what to do and what not to do for future online concert sales. But after speaking with them, and informally polling others, it seemed clear a person could follow every tip imaginable and still not get tickets. Luck, and certainly other factors, such as the popularity of your city, or your chosen concert date, are definitely involved.

That said, here are the best tips I was able to pick up for future sales.

1. Get that presale code

People who bought tickets Tuesday had to register before that day to receive a verified fan presale code.

“You went to a website and entered your info and your preferred date and location,” Reilly said. “I put in all three Philly concert dates.”

Rundle registered for verified fan presale as soon as the tour was announced, so she also got the code. In fact, she’s pretty sure her code, which came via text, arrived in the first batch sent out, per what she heard on social media.

“I got it around noon (Monday) and felt pretty good that it would be smooth sailing for tickets,” Rundle told me. Little did she know…

2. Look for a boost for buying merch

Both Rundle and Reilly said they’d ordered items from Swift’s website and that this entitled them to something called a Taylor Nation Boost. They said people who’d purchased merchandise and recordings from Swift’s official store were supposed to get this “boost,” which would earn their email address some kind of priority attached to their presale code.

Both women said they received the message confirming that yes, they did get the boost. But though it may have helped Reilly, it didn’t, in the end, help Rundle. She said her boost didn’t do anything for her as far as getting tickets.

And Rundle added that she’d heard from others who didn’t receive the Taylor Nation loyalty boost — and yet somehow did manage to buy tickets.

3. Log in early

The presale was set to begin on the East Coast at 10 a.m. so Reilly logged in at 9:30 a.m. and “immediately got shunted into the Friday concert waiting room.”

Rundle, too, says she followed instructions and logged in to the waiting room at 9:30 a.m., though she lives in the Central time zone.

“I had verified my payment methods were correct and I was logged in to Ticketmaster,” she said.

4. If you have a provided link, use it

Numerous reminders told fans to be sure to use the link from the text with their presale code, rather than go to ticketmaster.com directly. 

“There were multiple FAQs that advised that,” said Rundle, who says she followed these instructions.

5. Don’t switch dates

There are three concerts coming to Philadelphia, but Reilly was shown a message saying her code was good only for the specific date mentioned in the text she received. She had originally listed all three Philly dates when she signed up to get the presale code, but the site picked one date for her, and she didn’t try to switch.

“When we registered for presale, we were to rank dates and venues we wanted,” Rundle explains. “We were always going to be given one date we could buy tickets for. I received Friday, June 2. The only caveat was that they added more dates after the initial announcement, and some people who signed up for presale got codes for the new dates.”

One fan shared a screenshot of a message showing that the presale code couldn’t be used for a different date.

6. The waiting is the hardest part

Five hours and tickets

“Then I waited and waited and waited,” Reilly said. She was working, so she left her computer running in the background, open to the ticket waiting room.

“Friends were telling me that they couldn’t get in, or that the queues in certain cities were being paused,” she said. “One friend with a Capital One (credit) card tried to get into that presale when it started at 2 p.m. but it quickly crashed.” Ticketmaster later sent out an update saying that presale had been rescheduled for the following day.

Some fans later posted online that they had exited out of the lengthy queue, and when they joined again immediately afterward, were quickly bumped up and allowed to buy tickets. Reilly didn’t test this theory, and we can’t confirm that the approach works, or whether it erases your spot in line completely.

“I was definitely tempted (to leave the line and log in again),” she said. “But honestly, I was super curious to stick it out and see what happened.”

About five hours after she’d first logged on, at about 2:30 p.m, things started to happen. The site had shown that more than 2,000 people were in line ahead of her, but then it moved to 1,300 and then to one. Once she was allowed in, she had to enter that presale code to unlock different levels of tickets. 

The tickets she saw available at that time were priced anywhere from $149-$900, plus fees, she says.

Suddenly, a whole new row of available tickets popped up, and Reilly nabbed two seats, then waited while her credit card was processed. Seemingly against all odds, the mother and daughter were two of the luckiest Swift fans in Philly.


Many would-be Taylor Swift ticket-buyers were discouraged by lengthy waits.

Heather Reilly

Eight hours and nothing

Rundle logged in at 9:30 a.m. as instructed, and the link wouldn’t let her in the online waiting room.

“I got in around 9:50 and when 10 hit I got a message that there were 2,000-plus people ahead of me,” she said. “Then it instantly switched to ‘queue is paused.’ This lasted quite some time with minimal updates from Ticketmaster.”

She isn’t kidding about “quite some time.” Rundle was on vacation with friends in New Orleans, and had no laptop access, so she sat in a cafe waiting and waiting. “My service was stable the entire time,” she told me.

Nothing happened until 1:53 p.m., when the site finally let her in to buy tickets. She thought. She got to the checkout screen, and was suddenly sent back to the queue, and her number started over again.

“I tried to get through the queue to buy tickets four times between 1:53 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., and every time I’d try to buy I was told it was unable to complete (the purchase),” Rundle said. “From 3:30 p.m. until 6 p.m., I got in quickly but there were no tickets when I’d click the blue available squares. It was an exercise in futility.”

Rundle saw tickets supposedly selling from between $499 and $899 but couldn’t complete a purchase even for those high prices.

“It was an incredibly disappointing experience,” she said of her frustrating day.

7. Grab any tickets you see

If you get through, know your budget and don’t spend time pondering seat choice or poking around for a slightly better deal. If you see any tickets for a popular concert like this, grab them and don’t look back. By the time you get to checkout, they may be gone, anyway.

Reilly says that when she did get through, pretty much the only tickets remaining were the high-priced “Karma Is My Boyfriend VIP package.”

“The face price was $749,” she says. “I still shudder when I (think) that!”

Disappointment reigns for many

Not everyone had Reilly’s luck. Many had experiences more similar to Rundle’s.

One person tweeted, “8 billion people in the world and every single one of them is ahead of me in the Taylor Swift Ticketmaster queue apparently.”

Wrote another, “The Taylor Swift ticket presale is proof that the hunger games could actually happen in real life.”

Luck of the draw

Reilly says she realizes that she and her daughter were “incredibly lucky.” Good luck has felt rare lately, as they’ve had a tumultuous two years. The family lost their home in a fire, and Reilly was badly injured by a kick from a horse. So with the concert to look forward to, she’s hoping things may finally be turning around.

A Gen Xer, Reilly has some experience with desirable concerts, but Swift’s online adventure was at a whole new level.

“There were a few concerts in my teenhood where I slept outside the Ticketron at Montgomery Mall” Reilly says, “but this is definitely the biggest thing in the last few decades.” 


Gael Fashingbauer Cooper

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