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Taylor Swift offering ticket priority to merch buyers 

By | Published on Tuesday 29 August 2017

Taylor Swift

Response to Taylor Swift’s new single ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ was somewhat mixed this weekend, while the pop star has also received plenty of criticism – from the media at least – for a new US-based direct-to-fan programme that promises priority access to concert tickets to fans who either engage more with the musician online, or who spend lots of lovely money on her records and merch.

The official pitch for the Ticketmaster-powered Verified Fan programme is that it’s a move to stop tickets for Swift’s next tour getting into the hands of touts – or ‘scalpers’ to use the American term – including, presumably, those touts who use Ticketmaster’s secondary ticketing sites to flog on their tix.

Says the promo for the Verified Fan campaign: “Taylor Swift is committed to getting tickets into the hands of fans…NOT scalpers or bots. So she’s collaborating with Ticketmaster #VerifiedFan to create an exclusive programme to help YOU get the best access to tickets in North America, in a really fun way. Once you register, improve your place in line by participating in boost activities until initial registration closes on Nov 28”.

Different “boost activities” provide Swift fans with different levels of priority, with those that involve spending money providing the most priority points. Which means that those fans with more money to spend on merch and such like will be given the most priority – which kind of goes against a common justification for targeting the touts, ie that the big mark-ups on the secondary market price out real fans who are of limited means.

But, then again, it’s all about the bundle in the direct-to-fan space, so there is a logic to the whole hurrah, despite the media backlash. For Team Swift, more attention will be given to how the fans respond. Either way, if the star can sell more records by linking them to tickets, well, that’ll be good news for Right Said Fred who – you may have seen – have been given writer credits on ‘Look What You Made Me Do’, because it borrows a rhythmic pattern from their 1991 hit ‘I’m Too Sexy’. And why not, say I.