Buying concert tickets should not be a hassle

It’s up to artists and ticket-selling companies to ensure concerts are affordable and accessible.

Picture this: you hear that your favourite artist is touring. You frantically check when tickets go on sale and mark it in your calendar. The day finally comes, and you get everything ready — laptop open, credit card beside you, and your friends on speed-dial.

You wait forever in the online ticket queue, but suddenly everything falls apart. When you finally get to the seat map, every available seat either disappears every time you click on it, or has an outrageous price. Were you successful? Maybe, but at what cost?

Lately, it seems like buying concert tickets has become an extreme hassle. Gone are the days when you could simply line-up at the box office — going onto the website last minute to find any available tickets isn’t any better.

Ever since tickets went on-sale for Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour in November 2022, buying concert tickets has never been the same. During the presale, fans experienced extreme wait times. Due to the unprecedented amount of people buying tickets, Ticketmaster canceled the general sale. As well, Ticketmaster pushed back presale times to hours later in the day. This upset many awaiting fans, including myself. Swift even posted a statement about it on her Instagram story. Months after the fiasco, angry fans filed lawsuits against Ticketmaster. Overall, it’s safe to say that this was an ordeal. 

I was lucky enough to secure tickets during that fiasco, but I cannot understate the chaos and stress of the situation. 

While Ticketmaster apologized for the not-so-swift situation, there hasn’t been much improvement from them for ticket-buying. The only way to secure tickets is to get into the online queue at exactly the time they go on sale. Sometimes you have to wait an hour or more just to view the seat map. If you make it to the point of seat selection, then it’s a race to beat the hundreds of other people also trying to snag them. 

This catastrophe is mostly Ticketmaster’s fault. Without a doubt, Ticketmaster was unprepared for the demand for Swift tickets. However, when people tried to buy tickets for her Toronto and Vancouver dates, fans still experienced the painful situation — and cringe-worthy costs

Ticketmaster didn’t seem to learn from this situation, either. When tickets went on sale for Olivia Rodrigo’s Guts tour there were nearly identical issues for fans. You would think the large platform would have a better system in place for large-scale artists. Yet, Ticketmaster has shown time and time again they don’t care for fans at all. 

The most astonishing problem when it comes to buying tickets is beating the scalpers to it. Lately it seems like tickets get snatched up quickly, and later end up on a website with a price that’s double or triple the original. It is completely unfair to fans. Consequently, Ticketmaster needs to do something to prevent this level of reselling. 

It is both the job of the ticket-selling websites and the artist to prevent people from selling tickets for a higher price than what they paid for. Doing this will at least prevent the extreme cost of resale tickets. Additionally, it means that going to concerts doesn’t have to break the bank. Big-scale artists like Swift have an ample amount of money. They are more than capable of ensuring prices remain affordable.

When I bought tickets for Hozier’s Unreal Unearth tour in Edmonton, there was a policy preventing scalpers. When you were in the seat map area, there was a notice that you could only transfer your ticket, not sell it. Hozier also urged his fans not to pay the disgraceful price for resale tickets. While this still relies on an honour system, it’s a relief to know that this issue was at least considered. This is ultimately a shared responsibility between the artist and the ticket-selling platform. Steps like these take us in the right direction to resolving high ticket prices. 

An instance where an artist has significant sway with Ticketmaster is Robert Smith from The Cure. When he heard fans were paying high-fees on top of ticket prices, he asked Ticketmaster to partially refund them. Ultimately he was successful, and fans received fair prices for the tickets.

Artists like Hozier and Smith have advocated for their fans when it comes to buying tickets for their concerts. Other artists need to follow suit to make ticket prices affordable to begin with, and take steps to ensure that they don’t get resold for more than they are worth. However, this is also Ticketmaster’s responsibility. There should be efforts to keep tickets in the hands of fans, and away from money-hungry frauds. 

Concerts should be affordable for all. As fans, we deserve fair prices for our favourite artist’s performances, and shouldn’t be held back by heinous prices. When I’m singing along to the opening song, all I want to think about is how much fun I’m having, and not how much my bank account is suffering. 

Brooklyn Hollinger

Brooklyn is the 2024-25 Arts & Culture Editor at The Gateway. She previously served as the 2023-24 Deputy Opinion Editor. She is a Classics major and Creative Writing minor. She is a lover of fantasy books, peach iced tea, and can usually be found obsessing over pictures of her dog Zoey.

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