The Australia Letter is a weekly newsletter from our Australia bureau. Sign up to get it by email. This week’s issue is written by Natasha Frost, a reporter with the Australia bureau.
Australian Swifties cannot purchase tickets to the Sydney or Melbourne dates of Taylor Swift’s “Eras Tour” for love nor money — unless they leave the country.
Seeking to avoid the ticket scalping that has plagued fans elsewhere in the world, Victoria and New South Wales, the two Australian states where the concerts will take place, gave the events a special designation, making it illegal to resell tickets for more than 10 percent over the sale price. Corporations that contravene that face a fine of up to 495,660 dollars in Victoria.
At the same time, the retailer, Ticketek, capped the number of tickets that could be sold to a single individual at four.
Yet hundreds of tickets at many multiples their original cost are currently available for sale online — so long as the purchaser is not located in Australia.
Viagogo, a major ticket reselling site, appears to have contravened Australian legislation by simply geoblocking resale tickets for the Australian leg of the tour, so that Australian customers (and, presumably, Australian law enforcement) can’t see them. The retailer did not respond to requests for comment.
All over the world, Swift fans have struggled to get their hands on tickets for the Eras Tour.
In the United States, difficulties with ticket sales for the tour prompted the Justice Department to open an antitrust investigation into the owner of Ticketmaster, which sold the tickets.
Australia has had difficulties of its own: More than a million people registered for a presale code within 12 hours of the dates of Swift’s Australian leg being announced — and more than 4 million users reportedly queued online for a chance to purchase no more than 450,000 tickets.
Some Australian fans resorted to an in-person appearance, camping outside physical ticket booths for days, while others did battle with the website of Ticketek, the only retailer.
In recent days, many have taken to Twitter to complain about challenges of using Ticketek Marketplace, the only site in Australia where fans can exchange or sell tickets without risk of having them canceled.
Wait times on the website have, in many cases, exceeded multiple hours, and would-be buyers said they had not been able to purchase what few tickets appeared — ever so briefly — to be on sale. Ticketek did not respond to requests for comment.
Those who have successfully snagged a ticket will face another challenge, as will Swift herself: sweating through the concert’s three hours and 15 minutes amid what meteorologists are forecasting may be yet another hot, dry Australian summer.
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