Stories that come fromthey are varied, but many end the same way: with disappointment. Fans with an advance sale code were supposed to purchase tickets online Tuesday for the singer’s Eras 2023 tour, which is scheduled to kick off in Arizona on March 17, 2023, but things often didn’t go smoothly.
Ticketmaster sent a chirp early Tuesday saying “We’re aware that fans may be experiencing intermittent issues with the site and are working urgently to resolve them.” Later tweeted a statement citing “historically unprecedented demand” for tickets, saying millions were attempting to purchase them.
Many fans weren’t comforted, pointing out that Swift’s popularity is well known and that the ticketing site knew exactly how many presale codes had been given out and therefore should have been prepared for the onslaught.
Ticketmaster did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday about the issues. Ticket sales are open to the public on Friday at 10am local time.
Fluke after five hours
But out of all the stories of dejected fans, one Philadelphia-area woman got lucky, having waited in anticipation for more than five hours. Heather Reilly, 52, sought two tickets to the tour so she could bring along her 15-year-old daughter, a Swift fan for as long as Reilly can remember. After five hours, she got two excellent if expensive tickets.
“I love live music, and it’s one of the things I’ve missed the most during the pandemic,” Reilly told me.
Strike after eight hours
Wanda Rundle wasn’t so lucky, running out of tickets after a frustrating eight-hour wait online.
“I’ve been a fan of Taylor since her debut album,” Rundle told me. “She IS my favorite artist. I was pregnant with my son when I discovered her, and grew up with his music. At 15, this would be her first major concert.”
He was hoping for two or four tickets to a Chicago show, but ended up getting none.
I asked both women to walk me through their ticket experiences in hopes of learning the do’s and don’ts of future online concert sales. But after talking to them and informally questioning others, it seemed clear that a person could follow every suggestion imaginable and still not get tickets. Luck, and certainly other factors, such as the popularity of your city, or the date of the concert you have chosen, are certainly involved.
That said, here are the best tips I could muster for future sales.
1. Get that presale code
People who bought tickets on Tuesday had to register before that day to receive a fan-verified presale code.
“You went to a website and entered your information and preferred date and place,” Reilly said. “I’ve entered all three Philly concert dates.”
Rundle signed up for the 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 arrived via SMS, came in the first batch sent, according to what she’s heard on social media.
“I received it around noon (Monday) and felt pretty good it was going to be smooth sailing for tickets,” Rundle told me. She didn’t know…
2. Look for a push to buy merchandise
Both Rundle and Reilly said they ordered items from Swift’s website and that it entitled them to something called Taylor Nation Boost. They said people who had bought merchandise and recordings from Swift’s official store were supposed to get this “booster,” which would earn their email address some sort of priority attached to their presale code.
Both women said they got the message confirming that yes, they got the push. But while she may have helped Reilly, she ultimately didn’t help Rundle. He said pushing her did nothing for her in regards to getting tickets.
And Rundle added that he’s heard from others that they didn’t get Taylor Nation’s loyalty boost, yet somehow managed to buy tickets.
3. Log in early
The pre-sale was scheduled to begin on the east coast at 10am, so Reilly logged in at 9:30am and “was immediately diverted to the Friday concert waiting room.”
Rundle also says he followed the instructions and logged into the waiting room at 9:30, even though he lives in the Central Time Zone.
“I had verified my payment methods were correct and logged into Ticketmaster,” he said.
4. If you have a link provided, use it
Several reminders have told fans to make sure they link from text with their presale code, rather than going directly to ticketmaster.com.
“There were multiple FAQs recommending this,” said Rundle, who says he followed those instructions.
5. Don’t change the date
There are three concerts coming up in Philadelphia, but Reilly was shown a message that his code was only valid for the specific date mentioned in the text he received. It originally listed all three Philly dates when she signed up to get the presale code, but the site picked a date for her and didn’t try to change.
“When we signed up for the presale, we had to categorize the dates and places we wanted,” Rundle explains. “We were always given a date that we could purchase tickets for. I received on Friday 2nd June. The only caveat was that they added more dates after the initial announcement and some people who signed up for pre-sale received tickets. codes for the new date.”
A fan shared a screenshot of a message showing that the presale code couldn’t be used for a different date.
6. 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 lobby.
“Friends were telling me they couldn’t get in or that queues in some cities had been suspended,” she said. “A friend with a Capital One (credit) card tried to enter that pre-sale when it started at 2pm, but it quickly stalled.” Ticketmaster later sent out an update saying the presale had been rescheduled for the following day.
Some fans later posted online that they had dropped out of the long queue, and when they rejoined soon after, they were quickly bumped into and allowed to purchase tickets. Reilly hasn’t tested this theory, and we can’t confirm that the approach works or if it clears your seat in line entirely.
“I was definitely tempted (to leave the line and log back in),” she said. “But honestly, I was super curious to hang on and see what happened.”
About five hours after his first login, around 2:30 pm, things started happening. The site had shown more than 2,000 people lined up in front of her, but then it dropped to 1,300 and then one. Once she was allowed in, she had to enter that pre-sale code to unlock different tiers of tickets.
The tickets he saw available at the time ranged in price from $149 to $900, plus tax, he says.
Suddenly, a whole new line of available tickets popped up and Reilly snagged two seats, then waited for her credit card to be processed. Seemingly against all odds, the mother and her daughter were two of Swift’s luckiest fans in Philly.
Eight hours and nothing
Rundle logged in at 9:30 as instructed and the link would not let her into the online waiting room.
“I arrived around 9.50am and when 10am rolled around I got a message that there were more than 2,000 people ahead of me,” she said. “Then it immediately switched to ‘queue is paused.’ This has been going on for quite some time with minimal updates from Ticketmaster.”
He’s not kidding about “quite a long time.” Rundle was on vacation with her friends in New Orleans and she didn’t have access to her laptop, so she sat in a cafe and waited and waited. “My serve has been steady the whole time,” she told me.
Nothing happened until 1.53pm, when the site finally let her in to buy tickets. she thought. She got to the checkout screen, she was suddenly sent back to the queue and her number started all over again.
“I tried to get through the queue to buy tickets four times between 1:53pm and 3:30pm, and every time I tried to buy, I was told it was not possible to complete (purchase),” said Rundle. “From 3.30pm to 6pm, I quickly entered but there were no tickets when I clicked on the available blue squares. It was an exercise in futility.”
Rundle saw tickets purported to sell for between $499 and $899, but was unable to complete a purchase even at those steep prices.
“It was an incredibly disappointing experience,” she said of her frustrating day.
7. Take all tickets you see
If you can make it, know your budget and don’t waste time pondering your choice of seat or looking for a slightly better deal. If you see tickets to a popular concert like this one, grab them and don’t look back. By the time you get to the checkout, they might be gone, by the way.
Reilly says when she got through, pretty much the only tickets left were the expensive “Karma Is My Boyfriend” VIP package.
“The nominal price was $749,” he says. “I still cringe when I (think of that)!”
Disappointment reigns for many
Not everyone has had Reilly’s luck. Many have had experiences more like 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 it seems.”
Wrote another, “Taylor Swift advance ticket sales are proof that hunger games could actually happen in real life.”
Luck of the draw
Reilly says she realizes she and her daughter have been “incredibly lucky.” Good luck has seemed rare lately, as they’ve had a tumultuous two years. The family lost their home in a fire and Reilly was seriously injured by a horse’s kick. So, with the concert he’s looking forward to, she’s hoping that things can finally change.
A Gen Xer, Reilly has some experience with coveted gigs, but Swift’s online adventure was on a whole new level.
“There were a few concerts in my teens where I slept outside the Ticketron at the Montgomery Mall,” Reilly says, “but this is definitely the biggest thing in decades.”