Taylor Swift performs on Saturday, November 13, 2021
Photo By: Will Heath/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
Updated: November 17, 2022 1:29 PM EST | Originally published: November 15, 2022 11:58 AM EST

Taylor Swift is going on tour for the first time since 2018. In that time, the global superstar has released four albums: Lover, Folklore, Evermore, and Midnights, along with two re-releases of her past projects: Fearless (Taylor’s Version) and Red (Taylor’s Version), each featuring new songs “from the vault.” So when Swift announced “The Eras Tour” in November, set to kick off in 2023 and highlight the distinct sounds across her discography, the race to get tickets began.

But Swifties looking to attend the stadium tour are having major problems securing tickets due in large part to a system from Ticketmaster. Called Verified Fan, the system was implemented to prevent scalper bots from buying up an already limited amount of tickets and reselling them. As Swift and other artists like Bruce Springsteen, Paramore, and Blink-182 plan tours for 2023, the limited number of tickets available through Verified Fan has resulted in soaring prices and rising anxiety among prospective concertgoers.

Read more: Let’s Break Down the Easter Eggs and Influences of Taylor Swift’s Midnights

Per Ticketmaster, Verified Fan has been able to combat resellers creating skyrocketing prices after presales. “For big events, more than 30 percent of tickets might end up being resold,” Ticketmaster executive president David Marcus told POPSUGAR. “But with [Harry Styles’s 2017] tour, we saw less than five percent of tickets being resold for the shows, and that’s a huge improvement.”

Tickets for the Eras tour went on presale Nov. 15, and the Ticketmaster website crashed 30 minutes before the sale was supposed to go live.

Ticketmaster uploaded a statement to their website explaining what happened during the sale. While the Verified Fan codes were supposed to help manage traffic, the problem was a mixture of a “staggering number of bot attacks as well as fans who didn’t have invite codes,” which caused “unprecedented traffic on our site, resulting in 3.5 billion total system requests – 4x our previous peak.”

With this, Swift broke the record for most tickets sold by any artist in a single day, with over two million tickets.

Here’s why fans are so frustrated with Ticketmaster and some of the ways that Swifties can attempt to grab tickets.

What is a verified fan?

In 2017, Ticketmaster introduced Verified Fan, a program that requires users to input their personal information within a registration window. Before tickets go on sale, verified fans will get a notification telling them whether they’ve been selected to get access to a presale code or whether they were waitlisted. Anyone buying tickets for a major artist knows that getting access to the presale is the best chance to get good seats and avoid steep prices at the hands of resellers.

Read more: Why Everyone’s Mad at Ticketmaster Right Now

But since its implementation, ticket buyers have noted issues with Verified Fan, saying they have not been able to get tickets to the shows they want to attend.

Why has Verified Fan been causing a problem for concertgoers?

Many fans are not able to get verified. According to Ticketmaster, Verified Fan is supposed to combat the ever-growing number of bots on the site that buy up large quantities of tickets and then resell them for high prices. The company claims in a statement that artists are losing money to resellers “who have no investment in the event going well or any of the people working behind the scenes to bring the event to life.” They continue, “As such, Event Organizers have looked to market-based pricing to recapture that lost revenue.”

Although the new system was meant to make the ticket-buying process more streamlined, many fans are saying they are not able to get verified and can’t get tickets to the presale. They either have to find tickets from resellers or just not go at all.

The problem has the attention of national politicians including President Joe Biden and New Jersey Rep. Bill Pascrell, who have spoken out in support of customers. In a letter to Live Nation, Ticketmaster’s parent company, Pascrell demanded the company be more transparent on “the sale, pricing, and distribution of live-event tickets.”

“The verified pre-sale of tickets each morning has caused high levels of stress and frustration for our constituents as they see tickets disappear from the primary marketplace website as if purchased, only to reappear at higher prices,” his wrote.

Biden promised that he would be going after “hidden junk fees” that Ticketmaster adds to a buyer’s purchase.

What is your best chance of snagging a ticket?

Along with waiting to see if you’re one of the few chosen to be given the coveted Verified Fan presale code, Capital One cardholders (debit or credit) have the opportunity to immediately be granted access to an exclusive verified presale starting Nov. 15 to Nov. 17. (The presale was later postponed to Nov. 16.)

If you didn’t sign up for the presale or don’t have a Capital One card, you can wait in the ticketing line queue the day of the general sale or purchase tickets from secondary markets where the prices may be higher than on Ticketmaster.

The general sale begins on Friday, Nov. 18. Other than that, you’re on your own kid.

Correction, Nov. 15

The original version of this story misstated how Capital One cardholders can get access to the presale. They can register at any point; they did not have to preregister by Nov. 9.

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Write to Moises Mendez II at moises.mendez@time.com.

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