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Hoping to snag a Taylor Swift ticket? Be prepared for sticker shock.

Taylor Swift performed during her Reputation Stadium Tour at Gillette Stadium on July 26, 2018, in Foxborough.Robert E. Klein/Invision/AP/file

It seems simple enough: tickets go on sale Tuesday for Taylor Swift’s upcoming North American tour, including three shows at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough May 19-21.

Yet there’s a gauntlet to run to actually get tickets, beginning Tuesday with presales for Ticketmaster Verified Fan registrants at 10 a.m., and for Capital One credit card customers at 2 p.m. The general on-sale follows, starting Nov. 18 at 10 a.m. Then there’s the “dynamic pricing” system that makes face value a moving target by adjusting the cost of a ticket in real time based on demand. And there’s going to be demand — “incredibly high” for this tour, a Ticketmaster spokeswoman says.


Well, sure: The Eras Tour is Swift’s first full-scale outing since 2018, which means it’s been a while since the faithful have had the chance to sing along to “Shake It Off” in person. On top of that, her new LP, “Midnights,” has quickly become the best-selling album of 2022 following its release in October. Earlier this month Swift became the first act ever to occupy each of the top 10 spots on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. No wonder she reserved three dates at a place that can accommodate more than 68,700 concert-goers.

If you’re hoping to be one of them, here’s what you can expect when the presales start. If you registered as a verified fan by this week’s deadline, Ticketmaster will let you know by e-mail Monday evening whether you can take part in the presale. There’s the first catch: Not everyone who registers is guaranteed access. If the demand exceeds supply, Ticketmaster will select verified fans at random to participate, according to the fine print in the registration confirmation e-mail. If you’re verified and selected, you’ll get a text message with a non-transferrable access code that will get you past the virtual velvet rope and into ticket Valhalla.


That’s where things could get wild. Ticket prices supposedly range from $49 to $449, before fees, but plenty of Bruce Springsteen’s fans will tell you that dynamic pricing can make those numbers aspirational. When Springsteen tickets went on sale in July, would-be buyers were shocked to see prices zoom into the four-figure range, with some floor seats for his TD Garden show next March listing for nearly $5,000 each. Amid furious blowback from fans, Ticketmaster claimed that 88 percent of tickets were sold at their stated prices, between $59.50 and $399, with the average price coming in at $202, before fees.

Ticketmaster began using dynamic pricing in 2018 as a way of “returning value” to artists by circumventing scalpers who buy tickets at face value and then resell them, often at a considerable mark-up that cuts out the performer. Ticketmaster says the system is similar to how airlines and hotels set prices, though many critics have noted that individual airlines and hotels don’t dominate their industries the way Ticketmaster does. The company says that dynamic pricing has “captured” $500 million from the resale market this year alone.

“This is an important shift necessary to maintaining the vibrancy and creativity of the live music industry as artists and their crews become more and more reliant on touring,” according to a statement on Ticketmaster’s website. The company is careful to note that it has no role in setting ticket prices, which are determined by artists and promoters.


Swift used dynamic pricing on her Reputation tour in 2018, and Rolling Stone magazine reported at the time that some choice seats that listed for nearly $1,000 when tickets first went on sale later fell to just under $600. That’s an important lesson for potential buyers who would rather not spend every last cent: If you’re not among the first customers to get into the presale, before prices blow up, patience is a virtue.

“If you don’t see something that’s comfortable for you, step back, hold on,” says Dean Budnick, coauthor of the 2011 book “Ticket Masters: The Rise of the Concert Industry and How the Public Got Scalped.” “There might be another opportunity, whether it is the next day or the next month, or five months from now.”

Though the adrenaline surge of trying to snag tickets against an online countdown clock as prices rise makes it tempting to click “buy” at the first opportunity, dynamic pricing means the cost can fall, too, when demand lessens after the initial onslaught.

“I do think that there will be plenty of tickets that folks will be able to get at a price where they’re comfortable,” Budnick says, “which is not to say that plenty of people also aren’t going to be shut out, or disinclined to pay $800 or $1,000 or $1,500.”