The Ticketing Tango

The Ticketing Tango

Illustration Credit: Nisa Notta

It’s time we seriously addressed the scalpers problem.

Ethan Chan, Senior Staff Writer 

I attended my first concert in 2023, securing tickets to the Travis Scott Circus Maximum Tour at the Scotiabank Arena in the 100s section. I paid an excessive amount and woke up at the crack of dawn for good seats. Growing up, I never attended concerts, always opting for live sporting events instead. However, the thrill of the concert, the electric atmosphere, the mosh pit, and the shared experience with thousands of other fans — it’s a feeling like no other. 

I would love to attend another concert… if only I could afford it. While I paid under $1000 for two tickets to see Travis Scott, I know that his prices were a drop in the bucket compared to artists like Taylor Swift, whose tickets to see her in Toronto start at just over $2000 for resale. Although prices continue to rise for fans to see their favourite musicians, it’s becoming a financial nightmare to afford them. As loyal fans, let us ask the world: why is it so expensive to attend a concert? 

2024 boasts an incredible lineup of big tours, including Taylor Swift and Olivia Rodrigo. By considering supply and demand, you might assume that limited supply — such as only one tour date in each city — may drive up prices. However, the problem lies not with high demand but with the rise in bots and scalpers snatching tickets on websites like Ticketmaster before any fan can. While the New York Times reported that Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour presale conundrum left many fans empty-handed, her concert is not an isolated incident. Many other concerts, including Travis Scott’s, have tickets snatched by scalpers only to be sold for double or triple their original value. 

What can be done? Ultimately, it comes down to a team effort — with Ticketmaster, the government, and the musicians themselves all playing a role in lowering prices. Ticketmaster should implement robust anti-scalping and anti-bot measures with foolproof ID verification, forcing buyers to confirm their human status. Reducing hidden fees and surcharges is also imperative. Musicians have a say in where their tickets are sold; Zach Bryan chose an alternative website to sell his tickets with similar success to other acts on Ticketmaster. Used in unison, these tactics can easily deter scalpers, lower prices, and allow more fans to see their favourite acts when they come to town without budgeting between the rising cost of living and attending a concert. 

The battle for affordable tickets continues, but feasible steps can be taken to make live music more accessible. Attending my first concert in 2023 was a highlight of the year, and I intend to attend more concerts in the future. As fans continue to demand change, I hope that we can all work toward a place where live music is attainable for everyone.