Many live music fans will have experienced the pain of trying to get tickets to a gig, with touts, soaring prices and extreme demand making it more and more difficult to see artists live.
Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour has been the subject to a huge ticketing crisis, while UK fans have also begrudged the difficulty of getting tickets to Glastonbury, Wimbledon and FA cup games.
Football fans have long struggled to see top tier clubs, while often smaller plays sell out quickly, while some restaurants often get booked up months in advance.
Speaking to FEMAIL, ticketing expert Ben Simpson said the issue is mostly due to people wanting to go out more after more than two years of lockdown, while the UK doesn’t have sufficient laws to prevent touting.
Ben, the co-founder and CEO of online ticketing platform Easol explained: ‘After two years of lockdown, customers are eager to engage in tangible real-world experiences, often in larger numbers than ever before.
Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour has been the subject to a huge ticketing crisis , while UK fans have also begrudged the difficulty of getting tickets to Glastonbury , Wimbledon and FA cup games. Taylor Swift is pictured at a recent gig in Santa Clara, California
‘According to data from Pollstar, in 2023, live events worldwide witnessed an average of 12,655 tickets sold per show, marking a significant increase of 49.3 per cent compared to the ticket average of 8,475 in the previous year.
‘This figure also represents a notable surge of 27.8 percent when compared to the average of 9,901 tickets per show in 2019.
‘However, the ticketing industry has been struck by a number of issues around fraud and ticket touting.’
Taylor Swift fans in the UK have faced unprecedented demand trying to get tickets.
Fans have scrambled to get tickets to see the US megastar and headed to resale sites including viagogo where tickets are being listed for as much as £10,000.
Glastonbury fans faced chaos when tickets sold out in less than an hour
There’s been huge confusion around the tickets, with her promoter recently revealing all resale tickets are invalid.
But those who have splashed out on resale tickets will likely be refused entry to her gigs in Dublin, Liverpool, Edinburgh, London and Cardiff.
Speaking exclusively to FEMAIL, an AEG spokesperson said tickets that haven’t been sold through AXS or Ticketmaster will be cancelled.
They added that an official resale through Ticketmaster and AXS will begin on August 1 and ticket prices will be capped to stop touting.
‘The only way to obtain a valid ticket for Taylor Swift’s shows is via the approved ticket agents,’ they said.
‘In the UK, the approved ticket agents are Ticketmaster, AXS or directly through the venue’s website. In Ireland, the approved ticket agent is Ticketmaster.
Wimbledon fans also struggled to get tickets to see the tennis this year
‘Any tickets found to be purchased via resale on the non-official secondary market will not be valid for entry into the concerts and will be cancelled in accordance with the terms and conditions of sale.’
‘Authorised resale for tickets begins on 1 August 2023.
‘Through official resale facilities, ticket resale prices are capped to help combat the inflation of ticket prices and put a stop to ticket touting.’
Why are ticket websites so glitchy?
Tom Fairbairn, Distinguished Engineer at Solace about why ticket websites are so useless and if it’s merely traffic that causes the glitches.
For Tom, these glitches are not normal, they are a sign that websites with sudden bursts of traffic don’t have the capability to scale when needed.
While this makes perfect sense for a website such as Red Nose Day, which only experiences lots of traffic for certain days of the year, the likes of See Tickets and Ticketmaster need to upgrade their digital scalability to prevent outages and glitches from happening.
”Any business likely to experience large, “bursty” flows of data during peak periods such as ticket releases can benefit from event streaming underpinned by an event mesh.
‘This would improve the response and processing times to avoid any damaging impact on consumer-facing operations while providing more agility to ease the adoption of fast-to-production solutions like serverless.
‘The absence of an event mesh – and indeed any modern IT deployment capable of handling event data streaming in real-time – can cause turmoil for not just the consumer, but for the businesses who are caught in the middle’.
Suhaib Zaheer, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Cloudways, added: ‘Reducing friction during busy periods, such as highly anticipated ticket sales, is paramount to avoid inefficiencies in online transactions and customer experience.
Seconds really do matter. During peak times, when website traffic surges, customers still expect seamless browsing experiences and swift interactions. Any delays, glitches, or cumbersome processes can quickly lead to frustration. Investing in robust hosting infrastructure that scales during surges in users is crucial to optimising website performance.
Simplifying the checkout process is also essential for eliminating friction. Multiple steps and excessive information requirements can hamper customers trying to complete their purchases-the more steps there are, the more opportunities there are for something to go awry. Streamlining the checkout flow, implementing guest checkout options, and enabling autofill features can significantly improve the speed of conversion during busy sales times.
Additionally, ensuring seamless integration with various payment gateways and optimising for multiple digital touchpoints is crucial. Mobile commerce is on the rise, and a responsive, mobile-friendly website is essential for delivering a frictionless experience to users on smartphones and tablets.
To stay ahead, it’s crucial to prioritise the elimination of inefficiencies and create an optimal online experience that keeps customers including ‘panicking attendees’ engaged, satisfied, and loyal’.
‘These resale facilities enable fans to sell their tickets with confidence and empower fans to purchase resale tickets with the assurance that the ticket they are purchasing is genuine.’
AEG also clarified the confusing ‘lead booker’ policy that was listed on Ticketmaster’s website – saying that fans will be able to change the name on their tickets.
‘A recent study conducted by Lloyds Bank has raised concerns about a significant surge in fraudulent activities related to ticket sales with the rate of individuals falling victim to scams when purchasing event tickets has witnessed a substantial rise of 128 per cent over the past year,’ Ben added.
‘Many event organisers rely on third-party platforms for ticket sales, but the loose protections on these platforms increase the risk of fraud and scalping.
‘Revenue lost to ticketing fraud can amount to as much as $30,000 for a single event.
‘Resale platforms, which often function as fan-to-fan marketplaces, enable individual fans to directly sell tickets to others.
‘While this provides sellers with the freedom to set prices, it often results in inflated ticket prices that can damage the reputation of event organisers and make events unaffordable for many consumers.
‘Sophisticated scalpers and bots dominate the market for legitimate tickets, driving prices to astronomical levels and flooding the market with counterfeit tickets. Many websites operate with vulnerable booking flows susceptible to fraud.
‘Organisers need ticketing providers that enable safeguards for their customers by requiring account creation prior to purchasing, implementing CAPTCHA to deter bots, and allow creators to set the prices for resold tickets, thereby discouraging scalpers.
‘By bringing primary and secondary ticketing in-house, event organisers gain complete visibility of all bookings, enabling them to detect suspicious buying patterns well in advance. When tickets are sold through multiple channels, visibility diminishes, and scalpers can exploit the system.
‘Earlier this year, Easol introduced its own resale feature, providing event organisers with a secure and dependable closed-loop internal solution for ticket resales.
‘This hugely decreases the risks of ticket fraud by granting organisers full control over the ticketing process, including the ability to set prices that align with their values, ensuring customers are never exploited by external vendors.
‘Furthermore, it opens up sold-out events to those who may have initially missed out.’
When Glastonbury returned after the Covid-19 pandemic, music fans have blasted organisers for pricing out ‘ordinary people’ and making it a festival ‘exclusively for the wealthy’ after ticket prices for 2023 rose by nearly 20 per cent to £340.
Standard tickets cost £335 plus a £5 booking fee, with £50 as a deposit and the balance due by the first week of April.
The last time tickets went on general sale was in 2019, when they cost £280 plus a £5 booking fee for what should have been the 2020 festival, but it was subsequently cancelled for two years due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Glastonbury 2023 tickets sold out in just over an hour and hundreds of thousands of music fans were left furious after the sale was blighted by technical issues.
The coach tickets for the festival – with Harry Styles, Arctic Monkeys and Eminem all rumoured to be on the bill – sold in out in just 23 minutes, with the remainder of the £340 tickets being released at 9am this morning.
However, those trying to bag their spot at Worthy Farm faced crashed web pages, a ‘whirring circle of doom’ and disappointment after handing over bank details before their purchases halted without explanation.
Tickets to Taylor’s UK shows appeared on platforms like Stubhub and Viagogo within minutes of the general sale release, with one lower bowl seat to Blank Space singer’s concert at Wembley Stadium in London next year listed for more than £9,800
Fans were left outraged this week when Ticketmaster updated its terms and conditions to make the sell-out tour a ‘lead booker’ event , meaning the person who purchased the tickets has to be present at the venue to get in – but they are still appearing on resale sites (shown)
One festival-goer who did manage to get tickets said the process was ‘shambolic’ while others called for a ballot system in future, saying: ‘There has to be a better way’.
See Tickets, the company behind today’s general sale apologised for glitches, admitting on Twitter half way through the sale that it had been experiencing technical problems.
Around 9:47am, the company acknowledged there were issues, writing: ‘We’re working on a technical problem. If you’re trying to book tickets please bear with us – we’ll be back up and running soon.’
Early on, the official Twitter feed for the festival, @glastonbury, warned fans to only use one device…but many didn’t heed the advice, sharing photos of themselves with multiple laptops open.
Fans have scrambled to get tickets to see the US megastar and headed to resale sites including viagogo where tickets are being listed for as much as £10,000 (pictured in Seattle last week)
Speaking to FEMAIL, Cris Miller, Global Manager Director of viagogo explained that many issues are due to a lack of clarity from ticketing sites.
‘Eras is expected to be the highest grossing tour of all time with a projected $1.5bn (£1.17bn) in box office takings before it concludes at Wembley in August 2024.
‘Yes, Taylor Swift can say she’s bigger than the Beatles. The lack of information quickly becomes the greatest contributor to the ticket buying hysteria. We believe the industry must do more to put fans first.’
‘Too often, we don’t know how many dates an artist might add, the number of tickets actually available to the public in the first place (after sponsors, members, industry and corporate hospitality) and when and how they will be released.
‘Event-goers are often left in the dark, not knowing how many shows an artist might be putting on, the number of tickets available, and when they will be released to the public. This was the case in the U.S. in which Taylor Swift’s Eras tour never managed to get to a primary on-sale as inventory was supposedly depleted during the pre-sales – despite a ticket limit on buyers and LNE/Ticketmaster’s attempt at using verified fan to register the demand they have.
‘Thousands of fans are often stuck waiting in virtual queues, overpaying for tickets, and panic-buying, only for more tickets to be released shortly after the initial sale.
‘Ticketing companies should provide full disclosure on the number of shows in a tour, the total number of tickets available during the entire ticket sale, and when tickets will be made available to the public, and how those tickets will be priced (i.e., a set price or dynamically priced to reflect the market).
‘By providing an insight into the number of tickets available to fans at any given time, at any given time, vs those reserved for those reserved for sponsors, club members, and corporate and hospitality tickets, fans will have more transparency into the ticket-buying process without the need to panic-buy.’
‘It’s a well known fact that initial ticket on-sales times are hugely inconvenient for anyone working a 9-5.
‘They typically take place on weekdays – Thursday and Friday mornings when most fans are working, studying or community. Missing out on the poorly timed on sale shouldn’t mean you have to miss out on the event.
‘Event organisers should increase the option for fans to buy tickets so they can decide where to buy, when to buy and at what price point.’
‘Fans are often not given enough ticket resale options should their plans change, preventing them from purchasing tickets in the first place. Reasons including a change of mind, plans, or that they simply can’t afford it any longer, can leave fans out of pocket, and others miss out on the chance to go.
‘Ticketing sites should be fan-first where fans have the rights to resell tickets on platforms of their choice so they’re not left out of pocket with a spare ticket. Resale sites, such as viagogo offer a solution to those who change their mind at the last minute – one that allows them to recoup the money spent on a ticket, giving another fan the chance to attend.’
‘We have seen reports of fans considering more expensive tickets/’VIP’ packages in the belief they will have a better shot at getting those than a standard ticket.