Dynamic pricing has become increasingly common for major concert tours like Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour. Event organizers use algorithms to adjust ticket prices in real-time based on supply and demand. This allows them to maximize revenue. However, fans have complained that dynamic pricing makes Taylor Swift tickets unaffordable. Let’s take a closer look at how dynamic pricing works and its impact.
What is dynamic pricing?
Dynamic pricing, also known as surge pricing or demand-based pricing, is a pricing strategy where prices fluctuate based on current market demands. Companies use software algorithms to set and adjust prices for goods or services in real-time.
Prices can change frequently based on factors like:
- Inventory levels
- Time of day
- Level of demand
- Competitor pricing
- Special events or occasions
The goal is to increase profitability by charging higher prices when demand peaks and lowering prices when demand is slow. This allows companies to maximize revenue during busy times and reduce waste during slow times.
Examples of dynamic pricing
Some common examples of dynamic pricing include:
- Airlines – Prices fluctuate based on date, route, and demand
- Hotels – Rates change based on occupancy levels and local events
- Ridesharing – Surge pricing during peak times or bad weather
- E-commerce – Online prices change frequently based on algorithms
- Concerts/Events – Ticket prices adjust to demand
Dynamic pricing is getting more popular across many industries to better align supply and demand.
How are Taylor Swift ticket prices set?
Taylor Swift is using dynamic pricing for her Eras Tour in partnership with Ticketmaster. This means ticket prices will fluctuate based on demand rather than staying at a fixed price.
Ticketmaster uses an algorithm that adjusts prices in real-time based on factors like:
- Number of tickets being purchased
- Time left until the event
- Overall inventory remaining
- Market value of tickets
As an example, initially many Eras Tour tickets were priced between $49 and $449. But as sales opened and demand surged, Ticketmaster’s algorithm raised prices. Some tickets now exceed $1,000 due to high demand.
In addition to dynamic pricing, there are also Platinum Tickets for Taylor Swift’s tour. These are premium tickets priced higher than others. The upside is these tickets are supposed to get fans closer to the stage. The downside is they have no price ceiling and require no fan verification. Platinum Tickets for the Eras Tour are running over $3,000 in some cities right now.
What do fans think of the pricing?
Many Taylor Swift fans are upset and frustrated about the high ticket costs. Some popular fan complaints include:
- Pricing regular fans out – Only wealthy fans can afford tickets now
- Enriching scalpers – Resellers can buy tickets and flip them for higher prices
- Lack of transparency – Fans don’t know what they’ll pay until checkout
- Preventing access – Fans who lined up for presale codes still can’t afford tickets
There are also complaints about the Ticketmaster platform itself. Critics argue its dominance in the industry stifles competition.
However, some fans don’t mind the premium prices. They see it as the cost to see their favorite artist on a major tour.
On social media, many fans vented their frustration over Taylor Swift ticket costs. Here are some example complaints:
|Pricing out fans
|“I waited for presale only to have my code be useless when I saw the ticket prices. I can’t afford $600 for nosebleeds!”
|“Scalpers are loving this! They get to buy up tickets and sell them for 2x or 3x the price to desperate fans.”
|“They shouldn’t advertise $49 tickets when the end price is way higher. Just show us the real prices up front!”
Many feel regular fans are being squeezed out of the tour over high demand and profit seeking.
Perspective of Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift herself has not addressed the backlash directly. However, some context on her perspective:
- She has criticized Ticketmaster before and may have limited ability to control pricing
- Her team helped lobby for anti-bot laws to reduce scalpers buying tickets
- She priced VIP packages at her past Reputation Tour from $150-$3,000
- As an artist she likely wants to maximize profit but also provide fair access
While Swift hasn’t commented publicly, she seems aware of the issues her fans are raising. However, Ticketmaster also holds much of the power in the touring industry.
In the past, Taylor Swift has called out Ticketmaster for issues with tour tickets:
|“I’m not going to make accusations…but I do think it’s really wrong that any place has that ability (referring to bots buying presale tix)”
|“Tix will also go to actual fans & not just scalpers or bots this time”
This shows concern for fair access. But the high demand and dynamic pricing system now poses new challenges for her.
Impact on the concert industry
The issues with Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour tickets also highlight larger trends in the concert industry:
- High demand – Younger generations especially hungry for experiences
- Limited supply – Leading venues in major cities are scarce
- Tool for profit – Big money to be made from top artists like Swift
- Fan disconnect – Using tech to maximize sales over loyalty
Promoters want to capitalize on the live concert boom. But this risks alienating fans in the long run if policies appear unfair.
The demand for concert tickets has surged dramatically post-COVID:
|Average Ticket Price
|Up 60% vs. 2019
|Gross Ticket Sales
|Over $13 billion
Fans are eager to get back to live events. Swift in particular has not toured since 2018, further elevating demand.
The challenge is balancing rising demand, limited supply, and fairness. Ultimately the music industry needs to maintain long-term fan relationships.
There are pros and cons to dynamic pricing from both business and fan perspectives. Here are some potential solutions to improve fairness:
- Price caps – Limiting just how high prices can surge
- Fan presales – Special allotments for loyal followers at set prices
- Transparency – Clearly disclose pricing model upfront
- Lotteries – Random selection for access to discounted tickets
Venues could also partner with artists to provide some affordable seating options. There are ways to balance revenue goals with fan satisfaction.
Case study: Louis CK
Comedian Louis CK took an innovative approach to ticket pricing on his 2022 tour:
- Every ticket cost exactly $35, keeping prices fair and accessible
- He avoided ticketing platforms, selling directly instead
- Fans appreciated the simplicity and reasonable cost
While challenging for major artists like Swift, this approach helped Louis CK connect with fans. Simple pricing, direct sales, and fair access fuelled his tour success.
In the end, Taylor Swift’s tour highlights the contradictions of the live music boom:
- Demand is surging as fans crave real-world experiences
- Artists, promoters, and venues see huge money-making potential
- But unrestrained dynamic pricing risks alienating fans
- More transparency and fair pricing models can help balance objectives
For an artist like Taylor Swift, maintaining strong connections with fans should supersede short-term revenue gains. The concert industry needs to think long-term and find ways to make ticket pricing fair, transparent, and accessible. That will drive sustained success for artists, promoters and fans alike.