Music Marketing Brand Strategy Capital One

The Taylor Swift Eras Tour ticket fiasco ‘reinforces the value of her brand,’ per experts


By Audrey Kemp, LA Reporter

November 17, 2022 | 8 min read

Utter chaos ensued during the ticket rollout for Taylor Swift’s forthcoming ‘Eras’ tour. Will the blunder blemish the popstar’s brand? The Drum tapped marketing experts to weigh in.

torn tickets

Ticketmaster has canceled the sale of Taylor Swift’s tour due to ‘extraordinarily high’ demand / Credit: Adobe Stock

It took less than an hour from when Taylor Swift’s ‘Eras’ tour tickets went up for sale for Ticketmaster’s website to crash. The company then postponed the sale to November 18, citing a lack of inventory and an “extraordinarily high“ demand.

Before that, fans lamented online that the only way to obtain presale tickets was by applying for a Capital One credit card, and those who waited to buy tickets had to not only brace Ticketmaster’s cancelation but the myriad additional fees the platform tacks on to general admission tickets. In this case, those already run from $49 to $449. Now fans face a slew of online misinformation about how to purchase tickets. Will the popstar’s brand survive the chaos?

Here’s what marketing and advertising experts have to say...

Dipti Bramhandkar, executive strategy director, Iris North America

I was someone who signed up. I was going to take my niece and I received the email, like thousands of other people, that cited historic demand and a waitlist with no code. Still, I think of this as more of an opportunity for her rather than brand damage. I think of Neil Young, someone of a totally different generation, who’s no longer performing in venues that serve factory-farmed animal products ... That basically means he won’t tour, because in Madison Square Gardens you’ll be served a hot dog and a drink in a plastic cup.

Taylor is a socially-conscious person. I don’t think she needs to take down the monopoly of Ticketmaster and Live Nation, but I do think that musicians, with respect to their social values, are the full brand experience ... This specific thing won’t be her fault, but she must also take the opportunity to take a stand. If she did, she would absolutely have influence over Ticketmaster and Live Nation.

Robert Passikoff, president, Brand Keys

It doesn’t hurt the Taylor Swift brand. Today, yeah, people are pissed off. But the minute they can get something they want, they will be happy again. It’s like the Super Bowl; they could fill 10 or 20 stadia if they wanted to, and she could do the same thing. Having a certain rarity makes people want stuff even more.

From a co-branding perspective, it helps Capital One. It forms the association of ‘See what we’re doing and what we can do for you?’

Aaron Kwittken, chief executive, PRophet

Taylor Swift is nearly unimpeachable as a human, role model and brand. She will be just fine. It’s Ticketmaster that should be worried as lawmakers demand remedies and reform.

Gabe Gordon, chief executive, Reach Agency

Taylor Swift has 232 million followers on Instagram alone. While Taylor is embarking on a massive tour with 2.5m tickets across 52 shows, it is impossible to satisfy all her fans who want to attend a show. This is a modern case study of the power of an artist and how an engaged fandom, especially Swifties, can drive action.

Having a Verified Fans program and granting preferred access or benefits to a subset of engaged fans is the right thing to do for artists with massive audiences. We are seeing this trend broader in the creator space to create deeper, more intimate relationships with creators and fans. It’s important to recognize that this is still early for Taylor and if there is one thing we know, she will find ways to reward fans and connect with audiences across the tour and album promotion.

I don’t think Taylor will be losing any fans because they could not get tickets to one of her concerts. She is one of the most exceptional artists of our generation who has proven time and time again the ability to connect and inspire audiences no matter where they are.

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Andre Gray, chief creative officer, Annex88

It reinforces the value of the Taylor Swift brand – the market price of what people are willing to pay sets the price, even if Ticketmaster and Capital One artificially create scarcity (accidentally or not). The fans are willing to pay top dollar for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience Taylor Swift. But also to reinforce and support what she stands for, as shown by her recent moves.

For more, read Mapping Taylor Swift’s masterful marketing of Midnights. And sign up for The Drum’s daily US newsletter here.

Music Marketing Brand Strategy Capital One

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