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The Dilemma of Concert Tickets

The anxiety of buying concert tickets in a post-pandemic world.

By Andrea Morales

Photo by Mia Peterman

While scrolling through TikTok recently, I came across a girl at Harry Styles’ Love on Tour concert who turned down $50,000 to walk out of the event. The question on everyone’s mind: why? What was it about seeing Harry Styles in the flesh that made her turn down an amount of money capable of being someone’s annual salary? My guess is, the mental and emotional gymnastics that went into getting the tickets in the first place.

Following the global pandemic, people hadn’t seen their favorite artists for 2-3 years, leaving them desperate to secure tickets. I am in no way passing judgment, because I too have tried to get my hands on as many tickets as possible.

There’s just one problem — the cost. Harry Styles serves as just one example of a stark difference in ticket pricing pre and post-pandemic. In 2019, when his originally planned 2020 Love On Tour tickets went on sale, I could grab pit tickets for the reasonable price of $150. Post-pandemic, it was a much different story. For seats in the nosebleeds, tickets were priced at $300-$500. For the same tickets that I got pre-pandemic, Ticketmaster was charging over $1000. So, what happened? Ticketmaster has claimed that this dynamic pricing would help fight secondary sellers from getting their hands on tickets, but it also has had a ricocheting effect on fans. Concerts are becoming increasingly unaffordable.

The pandemic causing more people to stay at home, giving them more time to discover new artists, also serves as a potential explanation for the spike in demand for concert tickets. Coming out of COVID, artists are finding themselves with larger fan bases than they had before, as demonstrated by the Taylor Swift and Ticketmaster fiasco. Her Reputation Stadium Tour, her last tour before the pandemic hit, was the third highest-grossing female tour ever. Then, during and post-pandemic, she released 5 albums - Folklore, Evermore, Fearless (Taylor’s Version), Red (Taylor’s Version), and Midnights - some of her highest acclaimed works. These releases catapulted her into another stratosphere of fame, and added millions of fans to her already massive fanbase. By the time she announced her Eras Tour, getting tickets was a bloodbath, as millions of fans overloaded Ticketmaster’s system. Many were left without tickets, and those who were able to get them ended up paying exorbitant prices.

It is disheartening to see that buying concert tickets is now accompanied by a feeling of dread due to fears of such a high chance of not getting them. Even if you somehow manage to get into a queue, with the rise in prices it then becomes a question of whether you can afford the tickets. If pricing and ticket demands continue to move in this direction and you are planning on trying to get tickets anytime soon, hope for the best but, sadly, expect the worst.


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