Opinions, Column

A BC Student’s ‘Midnights’ Mayhem

If you know me, you know that I eat, sleep, and breathe Taylor Swift. Since my first Taylor Swift concert at age 7 (Justin Bieber opened, and I went with my second-grade girl gang), I have been a diehard fan. So, it goes without saying that this has been a HUGE couple weeks for me: a new album, the infamous “3 a.m. surprise,” a set of music videos littered with Easter eggs, and most importantly, The Eras Tour announcement.

Picture this: It’s Tuesday morning, and you’re anticipating Taylor Swift’s Good Morning America announcement. You, and the rest of Taylor Nation, are predicting a tour announcement, but you can’t be too confident. Many times over you have let Taylor Swift and her reputation for cryptic messaging get to your head, leading you to believe things like album releases and re-recordings are imminent. But this time, things are different. Taylor Swift gets on national television, announces her first stadium tour in five years, and suddenly, all of your wildest dreams have come true! But just like with any dream, you eventually wake up and are forced to face a less than picture-perfect reality. 

Like most diehard Taylor Swift fans, the confirmation of a stadium tour sent me into a full-blown panic riddled with a series of logistical nightmares. To start, the lack of tour dates. In the past, the U.S. legs of Taylor Swift’s international tours have included far more concerts. For example, Taylor Swift’s 2018 Reputation tour included 40 shows in North America. In comparison, including last week’s announcement of seventeen additional shows, Taylor Swift is planning on performing 52 shows. Although this is 12 greater shows than the North America leg of her last stadium tour, with the unprecedented success of the Midnights album and the five albums released since her last tour, all signs are pointing toward an all-out brawl for limited tickets.   

This brings me to my next point: the arena in which limited tickets will be battled for—Ticketmaster. Taylor Swift has partnered with Ticketmaster to facilitate the early sale of The Eras Tour tickets. This gives dedicated fans, like me, the opportunity to register for a lottery that will provide select fans with access to tickets days before they are available for sale to the general public. Fans, like me, believe that securing tickets during a presale is the most economical way to see a highly coveted concert. By securing tickets before they are widely available, dedicated fans are able to avoid the astronomical markup factored into the price of tickets sold by third-party sellers. Due to the massive interest in The Eras Tour, however, both Taylor Swift and Ticketmaster are looking for ways to distinguish between individuals interested in the presale. 

In an attempt to reward committed fans, many believe Taylor Swift appears to have “boosted” the priority of verified fans who have purchased Midnights merchandise through her website in the Ticketmaster lottery. Unlike her program for rewarding fans who purchased merchandise before the Reputation Tour, these “boosts” do not seem to be linked to a dollar value. Meaning, any purchase made through Taylor’s storefront qualifies for a boost, but not all purchases may be rewarded. Although Taylor’s intentions are pure, the process of rewarding fans who have purchased merchandise with preferred access to tickets has sparked controversy in the Swiftie community. Fans like me who have been strategically saving and abstaining from buying merchandise in hopes of affording tickets take issue with this and are rightfully disappointed that a monetary commitment is being used to determine access to the ticket presale.

But that’s not all. Taylor Swift is also partnering with Capital One to give the company’s cardholders preferred access to the ticket presale. Instead of jockeying with the general population for a chance to be selected for early access to ticket sales, Capital One card holders will be given presale codes automatically. Like many committed fans, I have debated making an ill-advised financial decision—like opening a Capital One credit card—just to support my Taylor Swift obsession. The Capital One crisis, however, only adds to the pressure surrounding securing tickets for fans like me—those without “boosted” status from merchandise purchases and the credit card equivalent of a golden ticket. 

I also face my own personal struggle with the tour: my lack of availability during the Northeast leg of The Eras Tour. Since I’m studying abroad next semester—I won’t be back in the United States until June 1 at the earliest. As a Massachusetts native, it really pains me to miss Taylor Swift’s three-night spectacular at Gillette, but I shall persevere. Like any good Taylor fan, I have devised a series of back-up plans coupled with alternative stadium locations. But all the planning in the world does not eliminate my deepest, darkest underlying fear: What if I can’t get tickets?

All of this to say, keep your Swiftie friends in your thoughts and prayers in the upcoming weeks. Securing tickets will require a degree of luck that is just short of a miracle. So with that, a personal message for all my Taylor Swift fans out there: May the odds be ever in your favor.

November 13, 2022