BY LIAM MENZIES (@BLNKCLYR)
After a little while away from the spotlight, Taylor Swift‘s return was bound to make headlines – she could have released the most half arsed song imaginable (oh wait, she already did that) and it would still gather countless listens and publicity with her fans flocking to pre order her upcoming album.
With a new record comes a new style and while the reception hasn’t been great, the glossy sweet pop star we saw a few years ago has been replaced by a woman who has watched Mean Girls just a little too much, full to the brim with angst. However, as the saying goes “a leopard can never change its spots” and a recent announcement in relation to tickets has shed some light on this.
Described as being a “really fun way” in order to guarantee your place in the ticket queue, “Taylor Swift Tix powered by Ticketmaster Verified Fan” may not be anything new as artists such as Bruce Springsteen and Ed Sheeran have had similarly named programs to help tackle the issue of touts. However, the devil is in the details and upon reading into them, you realise how exploitative the programme is to those who want to see her perform.
In order to ensure your opportunity to buy a ticket, fans of the squeaky clean pop star are encouraged to do the following things which all range in what kind of boosts they give you:
Watch the latest music video, purchase the album (for the greatest boost), post photos and engage on social media. Check the Taylor Swift Tix portal for the newest boosts and activities you can do everyday. – [Source]
On first glance, nothing nefarious stands out to you; fans would most likely purchase the album anyway and Swift’s fanbase won’t exactly moan about doing what they already do on social media if it greatly improves their chance to see her. However, it’s not until you look deeper into the former that you’ll start to roll you eyes. Consequence of Sound brought this up when breaking the news, stating:
To guarantee they’ll receive Reputation it on the day it’s released they’ll have to fork over an extra $48.03 to ensure timely shipping, which brings the cost of one CD purchase to $63.03. – CoS
“You don’t have to buy the CD” you may be asking yourself and that’s true; the aforementioned ways like social media spamming and repeatedly watching music videos will give you little boosts but it’s all very reminiscent of the free to play system that plagues many games nowadays. You do have an authentic way to reach your goal but when the option is waved in front of you that you can essentially cheat your way in front of the queue with money then any “fun” is immediately stripped away, leading the program to benefit Swift’s wealthy fans and leave her impoverished ones in the dust.
The final nail in the coffin is that even if one of her poor fans did manage to muster up the money to afford both a CD and tickets, they’re faced with the harsh reality that this program is only to allow you into the line. The fact that up to 13 purchases can be made that further your progress means that the whole message Swift and Ticketmaster are giving is “you could do this but slip us a hundred under the table and we won’t tell anyone”.
Bare in mind though that Swift isn’t new to this obsession with capital gain: who could forget when she trademarked “this sick beat” and other phrases from her 1989 album, leading fan made merch on sites like Etsy to have to seek permission to use them. The most shameful thing about this program isn’t the profits that both Swift and Ticketmaster are aiming for, though it certainly plays a factor, rather the faux-moral high ground they’re trying to take by utlizing fans. Even putting aside how Swift has further stigmatised a mentally ill black man, and is planning on releasing an album on the tenth anniversary of his mother’s death, this undoubtedly is one of the pop star’s most reprehensible moves to date.