Make Scalping Illegal [Editorial]

When an entire nation of Swifties signed up for pre-sale tickets, LiveNation should have had an idea of what they were in store for. But when the pre-sale kicked off on Wednesday, the load on Ticketmasters servers paired with the infiltration of scalpers, left many fans on the wrong side of the velvet rope. Some tickets were immediately posted for resale on Stubhub with valuation as high as $ 21,000. Ticketmaster decided to cancel their public offering of tickets on Friday due to the calamity.

Somewhere in machine of the capitalist music behemoth, there is Taylor Swift. Her influence in the industry is beyond palpable. She held out against putting her music on Spotify until they revised their royalty rights for artists. She flat out told the Super Bowl Half-time Show “No”, until she could reclaim the rights to the songs famously taken from her by Scooter Braun.  And now she has another opportunity… she can make live music accessible to everyone. 

And that was certainly her intention. Taylor Swift made sure there were affordable tickets priced under $50 for her upcoming Eras tour. However, that doesn’t really mean anything when scalpers scoop those tickets and resell them at exorbitant costs. 

This works for everyone, except the music fan. Taylor Swift, Ticketmaster, and the stadiums all benefit because the tour immediately sells out. And even though the burden of ticket sales now falls upon the scalper. The scalpers also benefit with their high markups.

Scalpers create no value for the world, except the assurance to the Ticketmaster monopoly that every seat will be paid for. Congress should make it illegal to resell tickets higher than face value. This would de-incentivize scalpers from hoarding tickets from people who just want to sing and dance to some live music. Stubhub could still enact “transfer fees” to remain viable. 

Furthermore, Ticketmaster and LiveNation is a technological monopoly that needs to be broken up. Anti-trust laws exist to protect us as consumers, and Congress does have some power here. And so does Taylor Swift. I am looking forward to hearing what she plans to do about it.