Opinion: Taylor Swift’s #VerifiedFan doesn’t sound very “fun”

Taylor Swift is back in a big way. After disappearing from the public eye for months, the country music princess turned pop queen has re-emerged with a new look, the announcement of her new album “Reputation,” a soon to be No. 1 hit song, and one of the most bad ass music video’s I have ever seen (thanks to music video maverick, director Joseph Khan)

Along with all of this, Taylor has also partnered with Ticketmaster for “Taylor Swift Tix powered by Ticketmaster Verified Fan”.

If you are not familiar, the Verified Fan program is described by Ticketmaster as ‘… a really big robot to protect fans from the thousands of little scalper bots trying to scoop up tickets.

Fans register ahead of time, and those who are verified and selected receive a code that unlocks the opportunity to purchase tickets.

Ticketmaster #VerifiedFan was designed to separate actual, human fans from bots and scalpers. The system aims to thwart bad actors who are in the business of taking away tickets from fans just so they can resell them. Our technology analyzes every registrant to make sure they are real people interested in going to the show.’

Sounds great, right? The Verified Fan program was recently launched for fans to utilize for such sought-after events like Ed Sheeran’s world tour and Broadway’s smash hit “Hamilton”, and received positive reviews.

A screenshot of Taylor Swifts Verified Fan by Ticketmaster website.

Where Tay-Tay’s deal differs is how the fans are able to benefit from this program. Ticketmaster is promoting this as “… an exclusive program to help YOU get the best access to tickets in North America, in a really fun way.”

That “really fun way” works like this – fans earn a place in the virtual ticket line by: pre-ordering her album, buying merchandise, and promoting Swift online to earn “boosts”. Purchasing the album is toted as the way to earn “the greatest boost”.

Doesn’t seem so bad. If you are a really big fan, there’s a pretty good chance you are already doing these things anyway.

Where things get a little shady lie in the details. For example, once fans have pre-ordered “Reputation”, they are given the option to spend an additional $48.03 USD to guarantee they receive the album on the day of release. Which brings the cost of purchasing the album to almost $65 USD.

But where this really crosses the line is that the album can be purchased up to 13 times to receive further boosts to your spot in line. A progress bar is even available to show how your boosts are advancing your spot in line.

Of course, there are free ways to earn boosts as well. Watching her latest music video (up to five times a day) and the aforementioned posting on social media also provide lower level boosts.

The basic idea of the Verified Fan program is a great one. Anything to get tickets to actual fans over scalpers and bots would make it appear that the artist truly cares about his or her fans. But instead of helping fans, Ticketmaster and Taylor Swift are just taking advantage of them which doesn’t sound “really fun,” if you ask me.