Thousands of Taylor Swift Tickets Remain Unsold — Just Days Before Showtime

Ticketmaster.com showing wide availability at Taylor Swift's upcoming 'reputation' show in Phoenix on May 8th.
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Ticketmaster.com showing wide availability at Taylor Swift's upcoming 'reputation' show in Phoenix on May 8th.
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Ticketmaster.com showing wide availability at Taylor Swift’s upcoming ‘reputation’ show in Phoenix on May 8th.

Taylor Swift’s team says this is all part of a plan to maximize ticket prices and minimize scalping.  But is that strategy working out?

Team Taylor is already claiming record-setting sales ahead of its ‘reputation’ tour.  But a quick look at Swift’s upcoming shows on ticketmaster.com reveals a potentially serious issue.

The tour’s opening gig, at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, has widespread seat availability according to Ticketmaster.  That sharply contradicts with a statement from Tom Sadler, president and CEO of the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority, who told Billboard to expect a ‘record-breaker’ even though ‘ exact attendance and ticket sales information won’t be available until after the show’.

Throughout, Ticketmaster and its owner, Live Nation, have pointed to a strategy that involves high, more dynamic ticket pricing.  That strategy foregoes the upfront sellout, but is designed to keep money normally claimed by scalpers.  “We’re not trying to sell all of her tickets in one minute; we’re trying to figure out how to sell tickets in a more modern way,” David Marcus, executive vp and head of music at Ticketmaster, told Billboard in January.

Sounds logical enough, though it’s unclear if enough people are buying high.  The May 8th show is not only far from a sellout, but vast sections of the stadium remain open and unsold.  That can be seen above, while a zoom-in reveals serious availability in premium seats around the stage.

In some cases, entire rows of higher-priced tickets are entirely available for purchase.  A quick test involving the Phoenix date revealed that these seats can be readily purchased, so this doesn’t look like a listing error.

These are very high-priced tickets.  And several hundred — if not more than 1,000 seats — remain unsold for a show that’s just days away.  That suggests that either these tickets are about to be sold at high prices, or Taylor Swift’s marketing team is spreading some serious misinformation.

The ‘reputation’ tour also features high-wattage superstars like Camila Cabello and Charli XCX, which makes the widespread availability even harder to understand.

The Arizona show is roughly one week away.  But other shows scheduled immediately afterward are showing even broader ticket availability.  In total, thousands of tickets remain unsold.

Indeed, upcoming shows at major stadiums like Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CenturyLink Field in Seattle, and Sports Authority Field in Denver are showing vast portions of unsold tickets.  Like Phoenix, entire rows in many of these stadiums are entirely open.

In other cases, entire sections are completely available, even though these shows are just weeks away.  Here’s a look at ticket availability at some of those dates.

Santa Clara, CA: Levi’s Stadium, May 11th.

Seattle: CenturyLink Field, May 22nd.

Denver, CO: Sports Authority Field, May 25th.

Dates further out have greater availability, including marquee gigs in Chicago (Soldier Field) and Southern California (Rose Bowl).

That all seems to be part of Taylor Swift’s ‘record-breaking’ strategy, one that involves higher-priced tickets and last-minute sellouts.  Though it’s getting harder to reconcile those claims with partially-filled stadiums across the country — especially with the opening gig just days away.

 


 

39 Responses

  1. Lucas

    WTF are you talking about? Do you have any real idea of ticket sales??? Usually up to 10% of the tickets for a concert are sold within the last 7 days before the show, that according to both ressellers and the primary market aswell as Pollstar/Billboard. She put more than 60,000 tickets to sell for this date and the record of the stadium by One Direction was 56,5k, and according to tour promoters she has already surpassed that number, and the tickets available in the map on ticketmaster are just slightly above 1k, so 60,000-1,000 = 59,000. How can you say based on that her team is lying? lol She is going to sell out and you have to do your research better on the tour market.

    Also, since we are talking about it, how can every single “music publication” ever since this tour was announced is talking about low ticket sales and yet Beyonce/JayZ’s tour that has less dates, less tickets in total and is way more marketed (she performed at Coachella 2x and its a joint tour with another big artist), and yet she is selling at a much more slow pace than Taylor and nobody seems to have a problem with it (?) Everybody (“music journalists”) is acting as if her tour is a huge success and Taylor’s is a flop. Like what’s wrong with you guys? Just check the map for Beyoncé’s OTR II and see for yourself. Honestly, when the boxscores get released, you’re all gonna be put into shame.

    • DBr

      This response is so fucking sad. Probably someone from Live Nation.

      Coachella sold out in 2 seconds, both weekends. And the price was $300++.

      You REALLY think that Taylor Swift is killing it with all of those tickets unsold?

      • meng

        wtf… Coachella vs. Taylor Swift?
        why not compare with other great artists’ previous concert
        Jay-Z, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, U2 has the lowest ticket sale in US , even the great Mariah Carey only 84% tickets were sold?

      • Lucas

        First of all, Taylor’s tour promoter is not Live Nation, it’s A&G Live/Messina Group. Beyonce is from Live Nation. Again, do your research!

        Second, I didn’t know Coachella was a Beyonce’s show (?) Every year it sells out within minutes, Beyoncé is just another attraction in a highly successful festival that has hundreds of artists performing every year. Post Malone for example is breaking streaming records with his new album and performed just before Beyoncé.

      • Lucas

        Third, have you checked Beyoncé’s tour seat map? If not, I invite you: https://www.ticketmaster.com/Beyonce-tickets/artist/894191

        Check it for yourself. It’s looking way worse than Taylor’s tour was 3 months before the start (around february – Beyonce’s tour starts in July). Yet ever since last year websites have been constantly showcasing these maps of the Rep Tour and saying Taylor’s tour is a failure. Side note: 2 weeks ago the seat map for the first show in Glendale had more than 5,000 tickets available now it has barely 1,000 so it’s safe to assume she sold thousand tickets in less than 2 weeks, yet all these sites publish sensacionalist headlines ‘Taylor has thousand of unsold tickets’ like WTF SHE IS SELLING THE TICKETS LOL

        As for Beyonce’s tour she has only 30 stadium dates in North America (Taylor has 40) and yet she’s selling worse than Taylor’s but these same sites seem to have 0 problems in calling it a success.

        • NickD

          Barely 1000 tickets unsold? Looked like there were about 3500 remaining on the ticketmaster map when I checked yesterday. Still not too bad though since the unsold tickets are mainly the expensive floor tickets where there’s a lot more room for price decreases.

          • Lucas

            Today Taylor just added two new sectors to the Glendale show with restricted view (never before used for concerts in this stadium). I wonder, if this show is selling so bad like this article suggests why is she adding more tickets and in sectors no artist ever used before? Seems like her team knows nothing and the guy who wrote this article knows everything right? HAHAHAHAHAHA

            By the way here is the photo with the 2 new sectors

            https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DcDZeIsWkAU7z9r.jpg

      • Hehe

        Yes she is killing it as you must have figured out by now.

      • Matt

        This aged well. Reputation tour destroyed OTR 2 Tour WW which was lead by two superstars and Coachella hype

    • Joe

      Not really… There are even tours that sold out in less than an hour. And this was before ‘secondary markets’ were allowed.

      Plus go online; resellers are now selling them as cheap as 30 dollars. This means that there’s no demand, with thousands still available on primary markets.

      • Lucas

        Nope. This 30 dollar tickets were tickets priced $25 for the fans who got the chance to be a part of the pre-order for the show (taylor partnered with ticketmaster for the verified fan strategy, which basically forces the fans to buy Taylor’s merch and watch her videos/buy her albums in order to prove they are fans and not scalpers). These fans were able to buy low priced tickets. And since they are fans they are not trying to make profit with these tickets.

        She just added 2 extra sectors/rows for the Glendale show never before used for concerts in this stadium, since they have very restricted/bad view.

        You can check in the print below of the seat map and compare with the article’s print. If it was selling any bad or the demand was low, the tour promoter was not going to be crazy to add ‘unwanted tickets’

        https : // pbs . twimg . com / media / DcDZeIsWkAU7z9r . jpg

  2. e1943a@outlook.com

    I did a count one the Rose Bowl, around 90% of the tickets are sold.

    • Lucas

      Beyonce has around 25 thousand tickets still available for her second show on the Rose Bowl (it has been on sale for more than a month). And that with several sectors blocked. The first date is sold out though. PS: Hear tickets are cheaper than Taylor’s.

  3. Lucas

    First of all, Taylor’s tour promoter is not Live Nation, it’s A&G Live/Messina Group. Beyonce is from Live Nation. Again, do your research!

    Second, I didn’t know Coachella was a Beyonce’s show (?) Every year it sells out within minutes, Beyoncé is just another attraction in a highly successful festival that has hundreds of artists performing every year. Post Malone for example is breaking streaming records with his new album and performed just before Beyoncé.

  4. meng

    Justin Bieber wasn’t able to sell 20,000 plus tickets and cancelled some shows and still entered the highest grossing concerts of 2016-2017 which grossed $256,384,056 with 149 shows, Taylor only has 51 shows, let’s wait and see.

    2016-2017 concerts: Mariah Carey sold 84%, Britney Spears 85.1%, Ariana Grande 89.4%, Maroon 5 98.04%, Lorde 94% and Beyonce was all over the news with her Formation Tour not selling well but after the concert tour it was one of the biggest concert sales in 2016.

    And if Taylor doesn’t sell 100% I’m pretty sure it will not make her broke LOL,
    but her “haters” will rejoice ….

    • Lucas

      What matters is the gross $$ made, not the amount of tickets sold. Formation Tour didn’t sell out every show, her team just released the boxoffices as sold out but if you go back and look at pictures of some shows + the capacity of some stadiums vs the amount of ticket she sold you can notice it wasn’t sold out. But the thing that matters the most is that she did amazing numbers when it comes to revenue (dollar sales).

      Pretty much just like Hollywood these days. No film sells more tickets than old classics, but in terms of revenue they do way more because of ticket price.

      Same strategy being used by Taylor and Beyonce here. But I do think Taylor will sell out most dates of her tour, cause of the logic of the market (the amount of tickets a concert usually sells in the last few days). Checking P!nk’s tour as an example, you can see hundreds of tickets being gone in the last 24 hours before a show (real time). Justin Timberlake aswell.

  5. DBr

    Let’s see:

    Before: you couldn’t POSSIBLY buy a Taylor Swift ticket unless you had a ton or money or got lucky.

    Now: You can get one for $40.

    And yeah, Coachella sold out in seconds. So why not make those tickets $600 and “Maximize the price” like taylor?

    Sorry, this is bullshit!

    • NickD

      The nosebleeds were well under $100 during the presale although I do think they spiked to $100 for a short time at the start of the general sale.

      The prices of higher quality lower bowl and floor seats are only down by about 20% compared to their peak price and pretty sure they’re still more expensive than during the presale.

  6. Indian Chief

    Seems like a lot of Taylor Swift employees are in this thread LOL

  7. RJFlorida

    1. It’s just not good music this time around
    2. This is a price gouging strategy to extract every possible dime, not sell every ticket.
    3. It’s just not a good album.

    • Lucas

      The album got above average reviews for a pop album. 71/100 rating on metacritic which is better than any Bruno Mars/Ed Sheeran album and they are having strong tours and winning awards. Not my favorite album but still a great one according to critics. First single choice was kinda of bad though. Look What You Made Me Do is very aggressive and didn’t convince a lot of people, but the album has great songs such as Dress, Getaway Car, Don’t Blame Me, New Year’s Day… it also sold very well.

  8. RJFlorida

    Yikes, Lucas chill out. We get it, you’re a die hard swifty but you need to grasp not everybody is ok?

    • Lucas

      It was a bug with the comments section lol It was just giving me this 404 kinda error and then I would try to resend, and suddenly my posts were doubled or tripled. My bad.

  9. rom

    wow what’s the fuzz about not selling 100%….it will eventually happen…rihanna and beyonce ….performed to half filled stadiums in some of their concerts…Katy perry …also failed to sell 100% ….

  10. rex

    oh …an article complete with screen grabs of seats…didn’t see digital music news do this to other famous artist who didn’t sell out their concerts…

  11. Anonymous

    The concert business is now in the hands of 2 mafia-like organizations, LiveNation/Ticketmaster and AEG, it’s becoming an anti-trust situation as consumers are getting hosed.

  12. Alexander

    Funnt how y’all are silent on the fact Beyonce is selling way worse than this. And she’s looked at as a god. Kinda sad that she gets a pass. Anyway, Ms. Swift will clock you haters when her boxscores come out. Glendale has went from 5k tickets to just over 1k. But that’s all fine and dandy. She’ll make you eat your words.

  13. Lauren

    My aunt works for the Phoenix stadium and has said Taylor’s show has been selling strong from the get go. It looks bad cause the demand is forcing them to release extra rows for the floor and more nosebleeds. Factor that with the slow ticketing that’s starting to become a regular and most acts will have plenty of seats left. Some of you do too much on this girl. Either way my aunt says they expect over 60k to attend. Possibly more if they can fit them.

  14. Paul Resnikoff

    Thanks all for the feedback on this. Frankly, I’m not sure what all this availability means, so I wrote a question-driven article about it. Actually I find the comparison to Coachella to be pretty interesting, and perhaps highlighting a far bigger shift in live concerts that we’ve been witnessing for a long time.

    Eager to learn more stats and results.

    • Eagle

      Why so obsessed with her selling out as if she’s the only one who’s not instantly selling out. And the coachella vs reputation your was just dumb. Coachella is a yearly event with several different musical performers. Anyone using coachella sellouts is weak since it is a yearly event not a personal artist world tour. Just stop nitpicking at her as it looks sort of stalkrish when it’s only done to her because as noted Beyonce and jay z aren’t selling out instantly either but we don’t have these silly articles shoeing unsold seats.

    • Lucas

      Since you’re replying let me add that Taylor just added today 2 extra sectors/rows to the Glendale show. Sectors with restricted view never before used to concerts in this stadium. So I wonder, how can she be selling bad and yet adding “unwanted” tickets (with bad view) for the show? She can’t be that off, especially considering she has a very smart team. So I guess we can agree your article is off.. sorry

      BTW, here is the pic of the 2 new rows she added today (take off the spaces):

      https : // pbs . twimg . com / media / DcDZeIsWkAU7z9r . jpg

  15. Peter

    I’m so done with news article like this one making false claims about stuff they have no idea about. Taylor’s tour is doing more than fine. In fact, it’s predicted to become the highest-grossing female tour of all time, grossing more than $400 million. Anyone who knows ANYTHING about ticket sales and slow-ticketing would know that the reputation stadium tour is a smash. Taylor is the biggest touring force in the United States right now.

    There’s two reasons why she doesn’t have instant sell outs: 1) She is doing slow-ticketing. By definition, her team DOES NOT want fast sell outs. That would mean the tickets were too cheap for the demand. Instead, they are adjusting the prices as the demand increases and decreases, which is why her tickets were so expensive at first. Taylor is probably one of the smartest business woman in pop culture. Her tour gross in these stadiums will break records. 2) She has more seats up for sale than any act has ever put on sale before. For example, in Glendale she already sold around 57-59K tickets (a record). Metallica performed there last year and “sold out” with 52.9K tickets sold. Despite her not “selling out” yet, her numbers (both the attendance and the tour gross) are more impressive than pretty much anyone before. Use common sense.

    You will all look like boo boo the fool once the boxscores come out, let me tell you that.

  16. Artamous

    I think the misleading thing when looking at the map is now that ticketmaster and other business now allows resale through their sight it shows available seats but it does not indicate how many seats listed are resale. My section has indicated sold out a few times then a few tickets available the first 3 months the ticket price for my section kept increasing from what I paid. My original purchase price was $180 and as high as $330 for cheapest in section. Taylor is doing her best to prevent scalpers but cannot stop 100%. Please tell me what percentage of the listed tickets have not been sold yet and how many of them have been listed and are trying to be sold again.

  17. tyler

    wow i am late but fuck that
    first off you all look dumb now
    reason.1/ she sold out the first show the second and probably the third
    2/ she broke the attendance record for the 1st show with 59k in attendance
    and if you looked at the pics it looks like there is a sea of swifties
    3/after the first show her tickets are going super strong
    4/ she also added new sectors to pretty much every show
    5/ and if i look at the maps now i get a little bit scared because look at maps a month a go and now
    and i have more to add to this list but you probably now that already
    she is selling out every show hours before the show
    and you all need to stop attacking jay z and Beyonce because is pretty much the same system.
    ps. you would get more readers if you written the trough/a positive article
    cause i think you´ve

  18. Taylorwinsagain

    7 straight sell outs to start the tour, already the hottest ticket of the summer, incredible reviews the best numbers of Taylor’s career. Dms totally exposed as in the tank for scalpers

  19. Native Atlantan

    Two big shows at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta this weekend and while the upper bowls of the stadium are virtually sold out, there are hundreds if not thousands of unsold floor seats and more in the lower level, and we’re 10 hours away from the start of the first show. I love Taylor, but I’m sorry girl, I’m not forgoing a week long family vacation for a couple of hours of your live music. The tour is overpriced. No way around that.

    • Anonymous

      The boxscores are in. It was a complete sold out and made a HUGE profit

      Taylor Swift, Camila Cabello, Charli XCX
      Mercedes-Benz Stadium
      Atlanta, Ga.
      Aug. 10-11, 2018
      $18,089,415
      116,746 /116,746
      2 / 2
      $499.50, $49.50
      Messina Touring Group