Its a perfect storm: Taylor Swift is going on tour for the first time in five years. Two weeks to flatten the curve lasted for the better part of two years, and everyone is still working off a lot of cabin fever. Both of these help explain why the demand for Taylor Swift tickets is so high that it crashed Ticketmasters website.
Ticket prices are between $49-$449, with VIP packages priced at $199-$899. Even prices of $49-$449 for normal tickets and $199-$899 for VIP packages are too low. People waited in virtual queues for hours and others took off work for the opportunity to pay these prices for Taylor Swift tickets. A quick Google search turned up tickets for Swifts June 3 show in Chicago. The asking price to sit in the Soldier Field grandstand on one website? $872. Another site had the tickets for $594. We could say shake it off, but that wont be easy. Getting back together with Taylor Swift is going to be pricey.
So who is to blame? Ticketmaster? Unscrupulous ticket scalpers? Taylor Swift? No, no, and no. If theres going to be bad blood between anyone, it should be between the fans themselves. If they spent more time reading the obscure works of long-dead Austrian economists, they would understand that tickets are really expensive because there are a lot of Swifties who are willing to pay a lot of money to spend an evening with Ms. Swift and thousands of their closest friends. As Michael Munger explains in an article applying lessons from Eugen von Bohm-Bawerk, You Buy From Other Consumers, Not From Producers. The fact that so many people are willing to pay so much for tickets is why Taylor Swift tickets are so expensive. Its why its so expensive to see Hamiltonand why I dont think Ill see it when it comes to Birmingham.
This isnt the way things should be in some cosmic sense. Its just the way things are. The reason you cant get a ticket to see Taylor Swift for $50 is because so many other people are willing to pay $600 or $800 for those same tickets. Crucially, even if you did score a cheap ticket or just found one lying on the ground, it would still cost you $600 or $800 to go to the concert because if you use the ticket, you forsake the opportunity to sell it to someone else at a steep markup.
Even when people are able to get tickets for (say) the low face value of $50, its likely that theyre paying through the nose in other ways. Someone who takes the day off to try to get Taylor Swift tickets forsakes earnings or at least loses a valuable vacation day. Someone searching high and low for tickets might pay with $49 in cashand a few hundred dollars worth of time.
So what can be done about it? Not much. The inescapable fact is that there are only thousands of tickets but millions of fans. Taylor Swift could alleviate some of the price pressure by touring morea lot morebut even if she did, tickets would probably still be very expensive. It looks like it will be a cruel summer, indeed.