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I Can't See, I've Been Robbed Blind: SZA Latest Addition to Ticketmaster's AI Resale Scheme

Updated: Nov 2, 2023

Graphic by Rob Lucchesi


It's been a weird, weird, weird couple of months for concert goers, and December has been no exception. Ticketmaster has found itself at the center of every music controversy in the last couple weeks, and somehow, they keep finding new piles of shit to eat. The ticket service in released a new statement regarding the recent Taylor Swift debacle, saying that they're going to essentially repeat the Eras Tour presale debacle, which has Swifties demanding that the service be reigned in (love it when the girlies gain class consciousness). They've also come under fire after having sold fake Bad Bunny tickets, turned away 1700 fans at his Mexico City shows on December 9th and 10th, and are facing fines of up to 10% of their ticket sales from the events. But their most recent fiasco that has yet hit your friendly neighborhood music tabloid, but will most certainly be all the hot goss by the time this article goes up, has to do with everyone's favorite stream of the week- SZA!

After releasing her highly anticipated third album, "SOS," last Friday, December 9th, SZA announced her North American headlining tour for the album, accompanied by Omar Apollo. The tour kicks off in February, 2023, and stretches over 17 stops, starting out in Columbus, Ohio, on February 21st, and finishing up in Los Angeles, California, on March 22nd. Very quick turnaround. Normally, this wouldn't be a huge surprise- a widely acclaimed artist finally releases an album for the first time in five years, is met with wide listener and critical approval, and then announces a domestic tour shortly after- that is, if it weren't sold out already.


The Ticketmaster presale for the S.O.S. Tour went up yesterday, Thursday, December 15th, with the intention of a full, public release the following day- today, Friday, December 16th. As of about 7:18PM EST, December 15th, tickets were already sold out in most major cities, with the cheapest, and only remaining tickets available for purchase being the $453 Platinum packages offered by, you guessed it, Ticketmaster. Now, bot ticket scalpers are nothing new to the average concert goer, nor to the avid concert goer, but the real kicker was the fact that tickets for the tour were already up for resale, and at fucking egregious prices. Tickets for the Madison Square Garden show were already up for resale on Veritix, an AXS Tickets affiliate, priced at nothing less than $300 for standing-room-only nosebleed bridge seats, ranging all the way to $11,800 for the same seats on the opposite side of the stadium.

Now, let's get one thing straight- it's very easy to mistake tone in written word. Oftentimes, my writing can come across as crass, sarcastic, perhaps even a little bit aggressive- usually because it is (it's the swearing, I know, my anger management coach says it scares people off). But this time, this is genuine calm, I really couldn't be less surprised. This is not the first time this has happened. This isn't the first time this year that this happened. Harry Styles, scalped. Clairo, scalped. Greta Van Fleet, also scalped, but I'm ok with that (please, I'm begging you, just listen to Zeppelin II. Those silly little white boys are not the revolutionaries that you think). Lil Nas X, scuh- alped. Ed Sheeran, you fucking know his tickets were bots. Who is willingly going to the Spectrum Center to see Ron Weasley sing whatever six albums he put out in the last two years? Don't fucking lie. But I digress, the list goes on, Kacey Musgraves, Mitski, H.E.R., Summer Walker, MCR, Tyler, and don't even get me fucking STARTED on those two. No one is safe, no show is too big, no artist is too small, no reunion too cheesy for an asshole with a 2014 iPad Air and his thumb up his ass to buy an AI program that clicks that shiny, blue "Join the Queue" button faster than your state of the art iPhone 4000 can even load the website.


Focusing back on the main point though, all this was was a long winded and satirical way of saying scalping no good, fire bad. And yes, the people that bulk tickets are scum, but it's of no fualt of their own that this is the situation we've found ourselves in. Resale is an entire business model these days, but it's nothing new. People have been selling and reselling baseball cards, sneakers, and that one Charizard Pokémon card for decades. Concert tickets are just the next big score. And it's not a new practice either, we're just not used to not seeing the guys waving around signs and obviously printer-paper tickets outside of Wrigley Field. But at the end of the day, it's still a living. Someone's always got to get the short end of the stick. There is no ethical consumption under capitalism.

EDIT: As of 1:31PM EST, i.e. I checked tickets again this afternoon to see if prices had fluctuated or if anyone was suckered into shelling out over a thousand dollars on Platinum packages, there have been additional dates added to the tour in the cities that were already sold out by this morning. And wouldn't you know it, those are already hundreds of dollars as well.

As of 1:44PM EST, the cheapest ticket I could find for the new dates was $164 without fees for the Columbus, Ohio show. Tickets for the US West Coast leg of the tour become available to the public at 3:00PM EST. Updates then.




To read more about the Bad Bunny situation, check out: https://gizmodo.com/ticketmaster-bad-bunny-fake-tickets-mexico-fine-1849886896





Rob Lucchesi

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